On Oct. 27, 2011 at approximately 10:45 p.m., the Rangers were one strike away from winning the World Series.
With easy passing day – and each ensuing transaction – I get the eerie, sinking feeling that they’re getting farther and farther away from that pinnacle. Not closer.
Alexi Ogando was in the Rangers’ bullpen last season. Had arm trouble that landed him on the DL. And irked team officials when he decided not to pitch in winter ball to prove his health.
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So the Rangers Tuesday decided to cut him loose, throwing another can of gasoline on the burning fire that is the franchise’s glory years.
Ogando had arm issues in 20113 with three trips to the DL. But given the Rangers’ lack of pitching, he would’ve been a viable candidate for a spot in the rotation in spring training. Instead, he’s now just another former Ranger almost wearing a championship ring.
After a 5-year ban for his part in a human trafficking ring out of the Dominican Republic, Ogando arrived with a lively fastball and a nasty disposition. In 2011 he was an All-Star, going 13-8 with a 3.51 ERA. He was also a constant of the Rangers’ playoff bullpen, appearing in 18 post-season games in 2010-11 including six of the seven World Series games in ’11.
After picking up two wins over the Tigers in the ALCS, Ogando had a chance to slam the door in Game 6 against the Cardinals. But with a 4-3 lead in the 6th, he entered the game and promptly coughed up two walks and a wild pitch to help fuel St. Louis’ epic rally that ultimately climaxed in a 10-9, 11-inning victory.
Ogando moved to the Rangers’ bullpen the following spring and his effectiveness immediately and continually spiraled. In 27 games last season he was 2-3 with a 6.84 ERA.
He’s likely thrown his last pitch as a Ranger, joining a growing list of players who flirted with immortality in Arlington. Gone from that 2011 team:
Nolan Ryan. Ron Washington. Yorvit Torrealba. Ian Kinsler. Josh Hamilton. Endy Chavez. Nelson Cruz. Michael Young. David Murphy. Mike Napoli. Craig Gentry. Julio Borbon. Chris Davis. Taylor Teagarden. Esteban Geman. Matt Treanor. Andres Blanco. Omar Quintanilla. C.J. Wilson. Arthur Rhodes. Scott Feldman. Michael Kirkman. Mason Tobin. Koji Uehara. Dave Bush. Brett Tomko. Mike Adams. Merkin Valdez. Mike Gonzalez. Mark Hamburger. Tommy Hunter. Darren Oliver. Cody Eppley. Ryan Tucker. Yoshinori Tateyama. Pedro Strop. Darren O’Day. Mark Lowe. And now Alexi Ogando.
If that seems astounding and staggering, it is. That’s the team president, the manager and 37 of the 45 players who appeared in a game in 2011 – poof.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.