Is there any better ballpark promotion than the bobblehead? The answer is no. This is part one of a six-part series, giving you the breakdown of what bobbling wonders will be at the stadium this spring and summer. Each bobblehead will be rated 1-5 stars based on quality of subject, originality, number available, and overall awesomeness. Teams will be ranked by total stars, so the more giveaways (especially quality ones) the better. Let’s start it off with the AL West!
Seattle Mariners (Each giveaway is 20,000 fans)
Saturday, May 31st, Robinson Cano: You knew the Mariners had to give a bobblehead to their new superstar player. This is (surprisingly) the first bobblehead giveaway for Cano in MLB. ***
Thursday, June 12th, Macklemore: I’m not a huge Macklemore fan, but I love the Mariners creativity for the local musical star. I’m not sure what it looks like yet, but at least they have Macklemore in a M’s jersey to go off of. **** 1/2
Saturday, July 12th, Hisashi Iwakuma: I’m a sucker for Iwakuma and would rate this higher for my collection. In the overall scheme, nothing too spectacular. **
Saturday, August 9th, Lou Pinella Mariners Hall of Fame: Lou Pinella is one of my favorite managers of all-time and I’m glad they’re comboing up a bobblehead with his induction day. Should be a fun day in Seattle. I truly hope it involves him kicking his cap. *** 1/2
Saturday, August 30th, Felix Hernandez: Another year, another Felix Hernandez bobblehead from the Mariners. Wish they had made a Jesus Montero bobble belly instead. **1/2
Total: 15 1/2 stars
Texas Rangers (Each giveaway is for 15,000 fans)
Saturday, April 19th, Yu Darvish Strikeout King: Standard fare, the teams best player in a standard pitching bobblehead. Would’ve been fun if they had the “strikeout king” have a crown with a K on it. **1/2
Sunday, May 18th, Prince Fielder: Another pretty standard bobblehead, but with the team’s best and newest hitter. **1/2
Saturday, July 12th, Eric Nadel: Now we’re having some fun! Nadel has been with the Rangers since 1979 as their broadcaster and is the winner of the 2014 Ford C. Frick Award. And now, his own bobblehead too. Love it! ****
Tuesday, August 12th, Pudge Rodriguez Gold Glove: I’ve got nothing against this one honoring one of the best players in Rangers history. I also like that they’re honoring his defense. There isn’t a picture of it yet, but it get a bonus 1/2 star if his glove is actually gold. ***
Thursday, September 4th, Shin Soo-Choo: Choo is also a new Rangers acquisition, but he’s not quite on Darvish or Fielder’s level. It’s going to be tough for the Rangers to top the greatest Shin Soo-Choo bobblehead of all-time. **
Total: 14 stars
Houston Astros (10,000 fans each giveaway)
Saturday, April 26th, Jason Castro All-Star: A nice honor to add on to Jason Castro’s all-star to give him his own bobblehead. He’s not a major star though, yet. **
Friday, August 1st, Lance Berkman: A great player in Astros history gets honored, because there aren’t many players on this current roster to give a bobblehead to. ** 1/2
Sunday, August 3rd, Roy Oswalt: See, Lance Berkman. I do like that they made these the same weekend for fans. ** 1/2
Saturday, August 30th, Nolan and Reid Ryan: Not many executives get bobbleheads and I would go out on a limb to say that this is the first double executive bobblehead in MLB history. I want to rate it higher, but only 10,000? Then again, the Astros attendance isn’t the strongest. ****
Total: 11 stars
Oakland Athletics (various amounts of fans)
Saturday, April 19th, Josh Donaldson Diorama: First off, kudos to the Athletics for increasing their giveaways from 10,000 to 20,000 for Donaldson and 15,000 for the Catfish Hunter one. Donaldson was the breakout star for the A’s in 2013 and the diorama is a nice little bonus. ***
Saturday, May 31st-Catfish Hunter: Athletics have had a Hunter bobblehead before, but that was in 2002. Here’s to hoping that they’ll add an Eric Sogard bobblehead giveaway if he wins the #FaceOfMLB contest. A’s fans love that guy. ** 1/2
Total: 5 1/2 stars
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (amount of giveaway, not available)
Tuesday, April 1st, Mike Trout: One of the games brightest stars gets his second bobblehead in two years. This one doesn’t top last year’s edition, though. Why is he not wearing a cap? *** 1/2
Friday, May 2nd, Josh Hamilton: If I’m an Angels fan and Hamilton’s 2014 starts off like his 2013, am I really going to want this bobblehead? **
Total: 5 1/2 stars
What’s your favorite bobblehead set in the AL West? Let us know in the comments!
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
HELLO! Who else forgot Oswalt was still a functioning member of the MLB society? This move–signing the veteran to a minor league deal and sending him to extended spring training–came out of nowhere. Here’s the tweet that made it official, as far as we know:
— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) May 2, 2013
So what does this mean for the Rockies and the rest of the NL West? Not much…yet.
Our own Brian Boynton can attest to Oswalt’s crapiness in his last stint, which was with the Texas Rangers in 2012. Oswalt posted a 5.80 ERA in that time, but still had pretty good splits otherwise.
For a team that has relied on its destructive offense and had a surprisingly competent rotation thus far, the Rockies may have scored with this move. Chances are their current, inexperienced rotation will be looking a lot more like the bruised and battered 2012 unit (last in the NL in team ERA, by a mile) after a couple more rounds.
So when Oswalt is ready, if he can pitch even half as well as he used to before going to Texas, he could conceivably be their number two starter. And if one or two of the young guns continues to produce this year, the Rockies are no longer a laughing stock; rather, a team to be reckoned with.
Luckily for Oswalt, pitching expectations in Colorado are generally low, so he won’t be as subjected to scrutiny as he was in Texas. And while I highly doubt we will see a Clemens or Pettitte-esque return for Oswalt, you can never have enough pitching.
Then again, Oswalt could be worse than the starter the Rockies already passed on once. And being worse than Aaron Harang is usually a sign to hang up the cleats for good.
What do you think about the move? Tweet us @3u3d to discuss!
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
It’s over. Thank the good baseball lords above, it is finally over. The deadline and the bad-for-blood-pressure rumors that go with it is finished for now, and the Ryan Dempster saga, most importantly, has come to a close.
And he ended up with one of Three Up, Three Down’s favorite teams – though not exactly the one you might have expected. After flirting with Mapes’ Braves and having a steamy public relationship with my Dodgers, it’s Brian’s Texas Rangers that swooped in at the last minute to steal Dempster away.
Let’s break down the trade:
SP – Ryan Dempster
3B – Christian Villanueva (Single-A)
SP – Kyle Hendricks (Single-A)
Wait…that’s it? After all that back-and-forth between the Dodgers, the demands to only go to certain teams, the reportedly super-high asking price…and all it took was two high-potential Single-A prospects?
Theo Epstein must have really wanted to get rid of Dempster, who expanded his one-team list of acceptable teams to three (added the Yankees to the list as well) in the last half hour before the deadline. This doesn’t seem like much of a sacrifice for a Rangers team that is now absolutely loaded with starting pitching to go along with a ferocious offense.
That offense is one of the reasons a young, power-hitting corner infielder like Villanueva was expendable. And Hendricks has some good potential as well, but you never know with pitchers.
Never fear, Cubs fans. You didn’t strike out completely. First of all, Dempster had to go somewhere. He wasn’t going to re-sign long term after the season, and at least the Cubs reeled in two pretty good prospects for him now, instead of nothing later.
I think the winner of this trade is pretty obvious. The Rangers now have Dempster, to go along with fellow rental Roy Oswalt, Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish, and about 83 other above average starters in a rotation that was sorely lacking depth and experience in their previous two World Series runs.
If Texas returns to the Fall Classic for the third straight year, they are now in much better position to actually bring home the title. You have to think that facing a top three of Harrison, Dempster and Oswalt would be about as pleasant as hugging a porcupine for opposing offenses.
Stupid analogies aside, the Cubs strengthened an already-loaded farm system even further with these two guys. You have to like that Epstein is finally doing what previous front office regimes wouldn’t, and completely overhaul to rebuild for a few years down the road.
Fans of both of these teams have suffered long enough. The Rangers now look poised to head into the postseason as prohibitive title favorites (again, just stronger this time), and the Cubs might field a surprisingly competitive team by 2015.
All in all, a trade that had to happen, finally happened. The Rangers got the arm they needed, the Cubs unloaded Dempster and brought in more young talent. So how do you see the trade? Vote in the polls below and grade that trade!
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
By now you’ve undoubtedly heard the news. The latest transaction to hit Major League Baseball is that Roy Oswalt has signed a contract with the Texas Rangers.
The only specifics released by the Rangers so far is that it is a one year deal pending his physical.
The deal will allow the Rangers to move some pieces around and his experience could become very useful but at what cost?
The Rangers have been one of the forefront teams all season to sign Oswalt. With the recent injury to starter Neftali Feliz this move makes a lot of sense right now. What about in a month when Feliz is scheduled to be back?
This deal could present a problem for the Rangers rotation. Or could this be a blessing in disguise?
When Feliz comes back there could be another rotation spot that he can slide into. The Rangers have a lot of young arms that don’t have necessarily a lot of miles on them. The problem with them though is the increased work load they were subjected to last season.
Players like Derek Holland and Matt Harrison, in the rotation, saw their innings drastically increase over previous seasons. So at some point this season they both may need some time off and having a team that features 6 starters (7 if you include Scott Feldman) really becomes quite useful.
Alexi Ogando was moved into the bullpen in the postseason last season and he remains there now. He was moved out of the starting role because he grew tired towards the end of the season. As a starter though he was dominant enough to make the AL All-Star team. A similar fate may be in store for Feliz.
Feliz being moved back into the bullpen would be a scary thought for the rest of the American League. If they had that many quality arms in the bullpen the Rangers starters would only need to go about 5 or 6 innings and just keep the game close. With a bullpen that features Mike Adams, Alexi Ogando, lightly used Koji Uehara, and Joe Nathan closing things out. Add Feliz in there and that is a daunting task for any offense that has to face them.
Oswalt could however anchor this rotation if they make the postseason. Colby Lewis has been a beast in the last two seasons when the calendar turns to October. Behind him however the starts have been spotty to say the least by the rest of the rotation. With a veteran like Oswalt who has postseason experience from when he was with the Astros and the Phillies this could be a formidable rotation.
He could also become a mentor for some of the younger pitchers as they do not have an established long tenured pitcher necessarily.
The longest tenured starter is Colby Lewis and he is only in his third year since coming back from Japan. This new and improved Lewis is suspect during the season and lights out in the postseason. He can not however guide some of the younger players through the season as he himself has to be watched with an extremely close eye for much of the season.
Oswalt will begin his time with the Rangers this weekend as he will make a AAA start and see if he is ready to be moved up.
Coming off the heels of the latest defeat I don’t know if Ranger fans can take too many more starts from Scott Feldman.
– Brian Boynton