Kauf Drops: Fishing for the Right Move

by Todd K | Posted on Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Cole Hamels - Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals

Image: Greg Fiume/Getty Images

By Todd Kaufmann

Sr. Columnist



This is my favorite time of the baseball season, second only to the winter meetings. It’s a time where fans begin to ask the all too familiar question, “who will our team go after?” A question that, often times, doesn’t have an immediate answer but one I don’t mind having a little fun with.

For those of you who are avid readers of my ‘Kauf Drops’ columns you know I’ve given a list of players I’d like to see the Texas Rangers make a play for and no matter how many times I’m told, “they don’t need to make a move,” it only sends my trade deadline brain into an even deeper mode of overdrive. It’s a mode that can have me acting like Gollum from Lord of the Rings—“MY PRECIOUS.”

I did my usual research this morning looking for the latest rumors surrounding the Rangers and trying to come up with a few more players to add to my list of, as the great Jason Parks says, want.

I’m going to refrain from boring you with my typical list of players, mostly because you know where I stand with them so there’s no reason to keep bringing them up.

That said I will be willing to do one thing that might be unpopular with some fans as well as the player himself. His value will never be higher than it was last year but since that year is gone and this year is now, his value has quickly taken a decline.

So, I’ve pulled out my trusty trade deadline fishing pole and I’ve baited the hook with Michael Young. I’m going to toss him out into the trade sea and see what teams want to take a little bit of a nibble. They won’t take the full bite on name alone but at least I can put the idea out there that I’m willing to trade him and see where it gets me.

I’ve talked to different people who have disagreed with my point of few, which is fine, but I just don’t believe this team is good enough, where they are now, to win or even compete for a World Series title.

The Rangers’ front office knows it, too.

It’s the reason they are probably already working the phones and at least kicking the tires on a few players. They know they can and should bring in another starter for the rotation, a guy who can compliment Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison and Yu Darvish as well as another bat in the lineup.

Say what you want about how apparently “strong” this lineup is, they aren’t scoring near as many runs as they were early in the season. They struggle against pitchers they should be taking apart.

Why not make the changes you know needs to be made in order for the ultimate goal to become the reality? Why stand pat with a team you know isn’t good enough to hang when or if they make the playoffs?

Let’s assume for a second the Rangers win the AL West and the Angels take the Wild Card and the two ends up going head-to-head. The Rangers run out Lewis, Harrison and Darvish against Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and CJ Wilson, on paper alone, do you think the Rangers can win that series, especially with the way the Angels’ offense is clicking right now?

Or how about the best the National League has to offer? Maybe the Los Angeles Dodgers with Clayton Kershaw, Chris Capuano, and Chad Billingsley?

Sure you think you can hang now but you thought that each of the last two years. Yet, the Texas Rangers have nothing to show for it.

Don’t think for a second this team is going to stand pat at the deadline. They needed a bullpen piece at this point last year so they went out and landed Mike Adams from the San Diego Padres.

While I don’t believe they’ll go out and overpay for a two month rental with guys like Cole Hamels or Zack Greinke, I still wouldn’t put it past general manager Jon Daniels to at least do his homework on both guys, especially if he and the rest of the front office believe they can sign either guy long term.

Outside of those two, there are four other pitchers who could be had at the deadline, each with their own price tag and each more or less expensive than the other.

Matt Garza, young, under team control for one more year, and a guy the Rangers could sign a long term deal with and end the contract when he’s still in his early 30’s.

Ryan Dempster, veteran, proven he can make 30 starts per season, and a guy who has proven he can do exactly what you need him to do every fifth day.

Wandy Rodriguez, consistent, but could be due $26 million over the next two seasons ($13M in 2013 and a $13M club option for 2014).

Francisco Liriano, maybe the most questionable acquisition of the four pitchers on this list. He’s had a few strong starts that have lowered his earned run average from really bad to not that impressive but the concern over his arm is still very much in play.

There are plenty of fans who will look at Hamels and Greinke and automatically want them to top their list. While I’m not saying I wouldn’t love to see either of them don a Rangers uniform, it’s really going to depend on the kind of return both the Philadelphia Phillies and the Milwaukee Brewers are going to want in return.

According to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, the Rangers do have one of their scouts in Cincinnati to watch Greinke pitch against the Reds and as Morosi says, “it’s not an accident.”

It’s time to go fishing but you can’t just throw an empty hook and hope someone is dumb enough to bite on it. The Rangers will need serious bate if they hope to land the players that will finally get them over the hump.

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