TRADE DEADLINE PART TWO

by Dan M | Posted on Sunday, August 6th, 2017

Aug 10, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister (left) and general manager Jon Daniels (right) speak with reporters during a press conference in which designated hitter Prince Fielder announced the end of his 12-year playing career after his second neck surgery in 27 months at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

BY: Dic Humphrey

ARLINGTON, Texas – It’s been less than a week since the non-waiver trade deadline passed, and the results so far have not been good for Texas. The Rangers have gone 3-3 since the deadline, including a series loss to the Mariners. The trade of especially Yu Darvish has also had a negative back lash.

Adrian Beltre had gone public to the media in the week after the All-Star game pleading for Rangers’ general manager Jon Daniels to trade for pennant race help. He felt the Rangers despite the record were a good team that could play their way into the playoffs.

A day later Elvis Andrus echoed the same sentiments to beat writers covering the team.

The trade of the Rangers’ best pitcher and starting catcher (Jonathan Lucroy) at the trade deadline thus did not set well. Beltre said bluntly that he was not happy especially to see Darvish traded. He also wasn’t sure what the signal from the front office was for the team’s future. Certainly the trade isn’t a vote of confidence from management that the team can rally their way into a Wild Card playoff berth.

However, it may signal a full scale rebuild of the team. Beltre knows his remaining career is short – probably just next year and perhaps one more. He wants to be on a team that has a chance to win the World Series, and may ultimately request a trade this winter.

As for the trade of Darvish, the consensus is the Dodgers skinned the Rangers. L. A. received one of the top 10-15 pitchers in baseball without giving up their best prospects. That thought was reinforced Friday night when Darvish threw a dominating game against the Mets in his first Dodger start. He gave up a single on the first pitch he threw, but completed seven shutout innings allowing just two more hits while striking 10 batters.

The best of the three minor leaguers the Rangers received is Willie Calhoun. He is a solid hitter, but he really has no position. The Dodgers have used him mainly at second base where he committed 43 errors over the past two seasons. Texas plans to play him in the outfield, but he doesn’t have a good arm nor the speed to play center field. On top of that, he is a left handed batter. The Rangers are already heavily weighed to the left side with their young players at or near the Major Leagues – Rougned Odor, Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara and Ron Guzman.

Calhoun has hit two home runs in at AAA Round Rock since the trade. He is likely to be a September call-up when the rosters expand.

The other two prospects Texas received from the Dodgers – A. J. Alexy and Brandon Davis – are good athletes that have the potential to turn out to be good players, but they could just as easily never see the light of day in the Majors.

As for Darvish in free agency this fall, history says it is highly unlikely that he returns to Texas. A trade deadline trade in a player’s walk year inevitably leads to a disconnect between the player and team. Darvish will now most certainly be performing again in the playoffs. A successful season end over the next three months will lead to good feelings with his new team. The money Darvish is looking for is no problem for the well-heeled Dodgers; and with the unbalanced schedule, he could well make 20 starts next season in the three west coast stadiums that are extremely pitcher friendly.

On the other hand, Willie Calhoun is a lot better return for Darvish than the draft choice compensation Texas would have received had they kept Darvish, made a qualifying offer after the season, and watched him sign elsewhere.

The real question at this point though is what is the real direction of the Rangers. Daniels says he expects the team to remain competitive next year, but it’s hard to imagine how. Cole Hamels is the only solid returning starting pitcher. They definitely have holes in the bullpen and center field to fill. There’s no shot in the arm coming from the minor leagues. They’ll likely have a team thrown together like this year’s was, and the results will likely be similar to this year’s – a team with little cohesiveness that has a chance to finish just above .500 if things go well.

The Rangers did make a trade with Baltimore this week that is likely a hint as to the team’s direction. They sent an A league level infielder to Baltimore for slot money that can be used to sign foreign players. It is the second such trade the Rangers have made, and it likely means Shohei Otani is their primary target. Otani is known as the Japanese Babe Ruth, as he is an outstanding pitcher and powerful hitter. He has made it known that if he comes to the US, he wants to continue to pitch and hit. It is not a certainty that Otani gets posted though.

Trades can still be made up to the last week of the season. There are a couple of scenarios, but basically teams run a large number of their players through waivers, and if no team claims them, the team is free to trade those players. The waivers are “revocable”, such that a team does not necessarily lose a waived player if he is claimed. They simply revoke the waiver and keep him. Most such trades are made in August in order for the player to be eligible for post season play.

Most teams don’t release information on which players have been put on waivers or which players have cleared waivers. The Rangers likely to be traded are the players that can be free agents next season – most notably Andrew Cashner, Carlos Gomez and Mike Napoli.

Texas is one of 10 teams that are vying for two Wild Card playoff berths. On Sunday morning, the Rangers are tied with Minnesota four games out of the second Wild Card slot. The Rangers’ Wild Card hopes are fading fast as they conclude another lackluster week on the field. They need to finish 33-19 just to reach 86 wins, the least number the second Wild Card team has ever had.

AND ALSO:

  • Tyson Ross was outstanding in a Saturday minor league rehab start, completing seven innings for AA Frisco while allowing a run on four hits to earn the win over Corpus Christi.

 

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