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Afternoon Bullet Points

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  • Anybody who's unclear on Ackley's contract situation should go read Dave's post on Major League deals. Basically, there's no reason for either party to be displeased.

  • Both John Smoltz and Vicente Padilla are currently free agents. I'd like to know why any team would choose to talk with the latter. Padilla's a worthless pile of crap who I have on good authority doubles as a crazy person. John Smoltz is a pretty decent pitcher with an awful ERA. Among 191 starters with at least 30 innings pitched on the year, here's where Smoltz ranks:

    ERA: 189th
    FIP: 130th
    K/BB: 16th
    LD%: 64th
    Strike%: 19th
    OSwing%: 2nd
    FStrike%: 24th
    OContact%: 83rd
    ZContact%: 70th
    Contact%: 46th

    Smoltz isn't the same pitcher he's been in the past, and it would appear that, at 42, he's finally approaching the end of the line, but he's not there yet, and the only reason people think he is is because of lousy luck on balls in play and a couple extra outfield flies clearing the fence. He'll be a good acquisition for whoever hands him a pen. Padilla will not.

  • Through ten innings of work, Neftali Feliz has struck out 16 batters, walked none, and allowed zero line drives. His tRA is -0.02. You think the Rangers are glad they brought him up? I wasn't sure about moving him to the bullpen at first, but it would certainly appear that everyone's benefiting from the arrangement. Of course, the real test will come this offseason. From what I can tell, Texas has always intended to move Feliz back to the rotation after this stint in relief, but with the numbers he's putting up, they'll be under a lot of pressure from people who're sick of bad bullpens to make him a closer. As much as it pains me to say it, I hope they stick to their guns. Making Feliz a closer would worsen Texas' long-term outlook, but I would hate to see them deprive the world of the opportunity to watch this guy for seven innings at a time. He has the sort of stuff and explosiveness that transcends divisional rivalry.

  • Speaking of the Rangers, check out where they rank over the last 30 days:

    Rotation FIP: 8th
    Bullpen FIP: 4th

    A pitching staff that used to look horrible has started to take shape, with Feliz helping to stabilize the bullpen and Millwood/Holland/Nippert/Feldman/Hunter taking over the starting five. It's not an excellent collection of arms, but it's a great deal better than what they started with, and though the temptation is to think that the Rangers are going to melt down, there's good reason to believe that what they're doing now isn't a fluke. You realize they're leading the Wild Card, right? Honestly, with the Yankees, Angels, and White Sox/Tigers looking like the rest of the playoff picture, I'm thinking that Texas is going to be my team of choice down the stretch. Feliz is awesome, the rest of the teams annoy me, and it'd be great to see some underdog slam the door in Boston's face.

    A Texas/San Francisco World Series would make for wonderful TV. Of course, the Rangers would have to win seven more playoff games than they've won in the past to get there.