The Rangers start their post-break schedule tonight in Seattle. Despite a seven-game winning streak, baseball's sixth-best record and a one-game lead in the AL West, president Nolan Ryan sounds none too satisfied.
"It concerns me," Ryan told ESPN when asked to assess the state of the Rangers at the break and as they move toward the trading deadline at the end of the month. "I see the same thing, that they haven't had the same intensity. I worry about that."
I'm hearing a lot of folks tell me to watch second baseman Ian Kinsler dogging it, as in not running out grounders and pop-ups. Not good. I'm on it.
I'm also hearing Rangers folks tell me how excited the organization is about their recent signings.
Of course we've seen a glimpse of Leonys Martin, the Cuban outfielder who hit .348 with four homers and 10 stolen bases at AA Frisco and has since been promoted to AAA Round Rock.
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But while we were focusing on fans falling from stands and the re-emergence of those Anaheim Angels, the Rangers were building their future foundation by signing two 16-year-old prospects. And spending big bucks to do so.
A team that a year ago was having company credit cards declined and about to be hurled into bankruptcy is suddenly spending to the tune of a $3.45 million signing bonus to Ronald Guzman and $5 million to Nomar Mazara, both gold-star Dominican prospects. And the latest? Apparently a $1.5 million bonus to Venezuelan pitcher Yohander Mendez, another 16-year-old.
And those are on top of the $15.5 million contract awarded to Martin in May.