Why (and How) the Rangers Should Go All In as the Trade Deadline Looms

Categories: Sports

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The Mariners say he's off the market, but we don't believe them.
What a week for Your Texas Rangers.

Nolan Ryan and Ron Washington took turns publicly ripping Josh Hamilton for the alarming lack of discipline he's displayed at the plate, increasing the likelihood that he'll be headed elsewhere this offseason. Fans booed the slumping slugger at home for the first time on Friday night. Wash benched Hamilton on Saturday and demoted him to the fifth spot in the lineup on Sunday.

If that wasn't enough to put the team into a tailspin, they learned that opening day starter Colby Lewis is out for the rest of season after tearing an elbow tendon, and Neftali Feliz was scratched from his next rehab start with discomfort in his throwing elbow. Until more information becomes available, Feliz can't be counted on to pitch again this year.

Meanwhile, top trade target Cole Hamels signed a $144 million contract extension to remain in Philadelphia, and the next best option, Zack Greinke, was traded to a division rival.

So, is it time to hit the panic button? Not yet.

Remember, this is an organization that overcame its so-called franchise player demanding to be traded twice, its manager getting busted for using cocaine, its most popular player and recovering alcoholic photographed in Arizona licking whipped cream off women's breasts while drunk and relapsing again at a local bar, its ownership resolved in bankruptcy court and the tragic death of a fan reaching for a ball tossed into the left-field seats.

There's no doubt this club is resilient. However, that's not a reason to stand pat as Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline nears.

The Rangers current starting rotation consists of Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Roy Oswalt and either Scott Feldman or Alexi Ogando. While it's possible that group will perform well enough to keep the Angels and A's at arms length in the American League West standings, it's also just as likely that they won't. That's why Texas would love to add an upper-tier hurler, which in turn is what makes general manager Jon Daniels' inability to pull the trigger on Greinke so damn puzzling.

Initially, it was speculated that JD refused to surrender third base prospect Mike Olt in a potential deal with the Brewers, and there were a lot of Rangers fans and baseball scribes that believed Olt was simply too much to give for Greinke. Later it was reported that Martin Perez was the deal killer.

Either way, neither player should have been off-limits.

Greinke naysayers are quick to label the former Cy Young winner as a headcase because of his battles with depression and social anxiety, but he appears to have those issues under control. They also cite Greinke's struggles in his first trip to the postseason last year, but it's not a large enough sample size to suggest he won't be effective this October. And Greinke's contract expires at the end of the World Series, but that didn't dissuade Daniels from acquiring Cliff Lee as a rental two years ago. (Although this time Texas wouldn't have received draft pick compensation if Greinke bolted.)

The bottom line is the Rangers would get a huge boost from adding an ace, and Greinke was the best one available. In fact, I think there's no doubt he's one of the top 20 starting pitchers in baseball, and I believe most MLB GMs would agree.

Yet, rather than pay Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin's asking price, in what amounted to a rare misfire by Jon Daniels, he not only let Greinke slip out of his hands, he allowed him to go to the very team that Texas is most concerned about fending off for the lead in the West.

It just didn't make a lot of sense. Prospects are a dime a dozen. Every club has them, and every franchise and fan base is convinced that their best ones are on a path to become perennial All-Stars or Hall-of-Famers. The reality is that for every Mike Trout, there are thousands of supposedly can't-miss prospects that turned into marginal big leaguers or never found their way out of the minor leagues.

Now Texas is left to choose from the likes of Josh Johnson and James Shields (I'm not buying that Cliff Lee can be had), and both the Marlins and Rays are reportedly asking for more than what the Brewers received for Greinke, since Johnson is under contract for next season at $13.75 million and Shields' contract includes club options for 2013 ($9 million) and '14 ($12 million.)

With good reason, the Rangers are reportedly concerned about Johnson's lengthy injury history and Shields' poor performance this year, so it's unlikely Daniels would pay the hefty price required to land either one.

Ryan Dempster, Josh Beckett and Justin Masterson are other potential trade options, but Dempster already nixed a deal to the Braves and appears only to want to play for the Dodgers. Beckett and Masterson have been mediocre pitchers at best this year and don't represent clear upgrades to the rotation.

So how does Daniels respond to losing Greinke to the Angels without knee-jerking and ensure his club stays in the driver's seat in the West? Give up the farm for Felix Hernandez.

Although the Mariners have denied that they would be willing to part with their young ace, considering they're a team in transition and unlikely to reach the playoffs before his contract expires, it's reasonable to think GM Jack Zduriencik could change his mind if overwhelmed with an offer.

A proposal of Profar, Olt, Perez and a B-level prospect would be difficult for Seattle to pass up, and here's why it would make all the sense in the world for Texas.


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19 comments
kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

Judging by tonight, this Roy thing ain't working out fantastic.  Cobra's gone, Nefti may be gone.............Roy is good for a solid five; I think JJ or JBecks is better than nothing? 

 

I give up Perez (loved watching him at Frisco!) to JUST make the playoff's.

 

OMG!  This team may be in third place by 8/15.

 

 

ps-At the beginning of the year I thought Texas might win more than that great Mariners team of yore(116), and Josh might hit .360/70/161.......baseball humbles.  In the words of the great Jim Bouton, "sh+tf+ck! " .

 

 

I watched the greatest team in history not win in championship (1975-78 Sawx)...........good luck ahhh babbabba  ba  ba bitches! (porky the pig)

Beck
Beck

Read the "Why Rangers can't trade Profar, Olt " by Buster Olney on ESPN's site to get a great idea of why Profar and Olt are so valued.

evanrocksthebass
evanrocksthebass

It's too easy to say "prospects are a dime a dozen" when JD literally built this team around trading a star for prospects. (Tex for Andrus, Feliz, Harrison, and some scrub whose name I have erased from my memory). 

 

And you covered half of why trading for Lee is different than trading for Greinke - the lack of a compensation pick. Getting that compensation pick meant you could trade some prospects, try to make a run at a championship, but still get a quality prospect back (minus a couple years experience, generally). So trades like Lee give you immediate help, but don't completely mortgage the future. This is not true anymore, and taking on rentals poses a significant risk of leaving your farm system looking like the White Sox.

 

The other angle is just where the team is in terms of contracts. When we traded for Lee, the payroll was ~60 million. That was a payroll that, with a new owner, we could expand. Now, we have 2 top tier FAs, with several other quality guys that aren't under contract for next year, and several players coming off of rookie contracts and into arbitration. The payroll currently stands between 120 and 130 million, and will expand just based on keeping the guys that we have. Once that TV contract news hit, everyone thought the Rangers would instantly increase payroll to NY/BOS/PHI levels, but that hefty contract isn't in play until after 2014. Be glad that fans are showing up night after night, because it was estimated early in the season that the team would need attendance figures of roughly 2.5 million to _break even_. JD has to be budget-minded, and good for us, he is, because otherwise we'd almost certainly be dealing with one of two situations: a) losing one (or even both, you never know how FA will play out) of Hamilton or Greinke, or b) keeping both, but having to get rid of younger guys as their salaries increase.

 

This team is too damn good to do anything that will jeopardize the ability to keep the team together moving forward. We could go gung ho for a championship this year, but Texas has such a great core of players that they absolutely should be championship contenders for 4-5 years, or even longer if some of Profar, Olt, Perez, Scheppers, and so on can actually live up to the hype.

Mervis
Mervis

Mess with the pitching all you want.......if this thing doesn't start hitting consistantly you can count them out in the first round.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

If we're counting on Mitch fucking Moreland to come back for the team to hit better, we're in trouble and I've already lost my bet on the Rangers winning the WS in Vegas.

 

I wasn't convinced that Greinke needed to be added here for that price, but nobody asked me. It would've been nice, but I just don't get a good feeling he'd come in here and handle the heat, pressure up to our lofty expectations. He'd probably be good, not great.

 

I'd love to trade for Felix, but I don't think that's happening until Seattle makes a GM change. Which could be soon, but it'd be the straw that broke the camel's back if the existing guy did it. And I'd consider Profar untouchable, even in this case. Any other combination of anyone else in the system they can have. I'd even throw in Murphy or Kinsler, but that's just me.

 

I still love you, Sam.

Beck
Beck

1)  JD and his staff are paid a lot of money to be expert talent evaluators.

2)  They've proven to be very adept at it over the last few years, with far more hits than misses.

3)  You can't just use generalizations like "Prospects are a dime a dozen".  What matters is the specific,  individual players involved in the deal (of which we only hear second hand reports) and their projections for each player.  Only then can you compare the value given and the value received in any proposed deal.  In this case, the Rangers felt it was a bad deal and passed.  Only time will tell if their projections are correct.  Fans are the ones who project every prospect as an All-Star.  JD is paid to do the opposite and shrewdly discern which are the real deal and which can be given up.

4) Doing a bad deal to keep an asset away from a competitor is not a winning strategy.  It weakens your team long term and your chief competition may change over time (see A's this season).

5)  The trading deadline has not passed and almost assuredly, the Rangers will do a deal.  Let's discuss after that point.  

6) JD has shown the ability in the past to trade big time prospects if he feels the value is there.  Let's give him the benefit of the doubt.

Storm_71
Storm_71

I agree with Sam although I would like to get a bat back in the deal (King Felix that is) as well. I don't think Seattle is going to give up King Felix. As far as not getting ole Greinke if Perez (plus a tier 2 or 3 prospect) was all it would have taken and not Olt I don't see why the deal was not done. I'm still holing out some hope that Cliff Lee can be had if the Phillies can chip away alittle of his salary I think it could go down.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Sam is about the only person in town who would give up profar, but in that deal for hernandez why not.  Look, we all thought smoak was our future at 1B, we sold him for cliff lee got our WS appearance and Smoak is swimming in AAA right now. 

 

The fact that we are still in 1st while hitting like the bad new bears for 2 months makes me feel good in that if we only get half way back to the way we were hitting in April and May, this team will be fine. 

 

Good to see Sam around here again. 

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

You have to get another "decent" arm in here at whatever REASONABLE costs(s)........Nefti may be done!  And then you get better from within. 

 

ps-Trust me on this one; you don't want Josh Beckett....then again, that trade WOULD make my team better. 

Joshstruckoutagain
Joshstruckoutagain

Leggo of my farm system, Mr. Merten.  If we were 10 games up in the division and the offense was ginning (Like it should be and we should be atleast 10 games up) then you lose Colby..OK, trade for Greinke..give them Perez, who will be pitching in our rotation..probably as soon as next year. 

 

But the way this thing is creeping down the tracks, unless Greinke was going to bat third on his non pitching days..keep your powder dry.  We're going to need ammo to replace Josh, Colby, Nap, Torrealba and Feldman?...never mind Feldman.  This thing could flip a switch and everything turn out fine, but that flip has been buried 6 feet under since the first of June. 

 

I'm not completely freaked out yet, still leading the division..nobody is hitting...pitchermen have been dropping like flies....but we need to get after it, and tonight is as good time as any. In closing, Eff the Angels and Ceej!

Mervis
Mervis

 @evanrocksthebassand some scrub whose name I have erased from my memory

 

That wass Saltiamacchia who is finally having a decent year with the BoSox. Traded him for David Murphy.

 

Joshstruckoutagain
Joshstruckoutagain

Brewers wanted a shortstop that was close to being ready, it's been said that the deal for Perez was very close on Thursday and then Melvin got what he actually wanted from the Angels and went that way.

Storm_71
Storm_71

Speak of the devil MLB Rumors via a tweet form Buster Olney says the Cliff Lee is back on the trade table.

Joshstruckoutagain
Joshstruckoutagain

Why not: Profar is going to be our starting short stop year after next..when the big mean Yankees get with Lil E's agent (Boras) and sign him to replace Jeter.

 

Also, both Profar and Olt are higher rated prospects at this time..than Smoak was at that time.

 

Also again: Did you see what Merten did with Nap yesterday?  Sent him back to me after a month.  NOW, lets hope he starts hitting again.

Joshstruckoutagain
Joshstruckoutagain

Ogs is our other decent arm, made the all star team last year..plenty of rest thus far this year.  Don't want/need Beckett, him and Josh would just sit around eating yard bird and then that damn bat would start flying again.

DittoThat
DittoThat

 @Joshsbrokendisqus Me thinks the Angels gave up too much (3 quality prospects) for three months worth of a headcase pitcher with a 4.05 era over his last 9 (mostly NL) games and a 6.48 postseason (3 games) era.

evanrocksthebass
evanrocksthebass

 @Mervis I should have said "purposefully erased from my memory." And we got nothing for him because he couldn't even throw the ball back to the mound when we gave him up.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

 @Joshsbrokendisqus Thats assuming we let Lil E walk.  you cant just avoid the baseball anitchrist until he dies.  You have to deal with him and lil E is worth it. 

 

And Nap is crazy, k's or HR no inbetween

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