I am in the habit of trusting Jon Daniels, Thad Levine and the Rangers front office. They built the Rangers’ golden era from the ground up. However, this trade deadline has me confused, what does JD see in this team that I do not?
On the surface the Matt Garza deal signified that the Rangers were set on winning this year. By trading for a two month rental at the price it took to get Garza it is hard to see it any other way. To be fair there are alternatives, the Rangers have been after Garza for some time. They love him. So perhaps they will iron out a deal with Garza before the season is out. The kind of contract it would take to sign him seems unlikely given the Rangers’ history of refusing to overpay.
That aside, the Rangers are willing to buy and perhaps buy big to win this year. This is where the Rangers strategy has lost me. Before Garza came on board the rotation was an obvious problem. We had Derek Holland, Ross Wolf, Josh Lindblom, and Martin Perez going in the rotation with Yu Darvish on the DL. With Garza, Darvish and Alexi Ogando back on board the rotation is no longer a AAA rotation and since these three joined the rotation the Rangers pitching has been solid to the tune of a 3.20 FIP over the last week, good for third best in the AL. With the pitching problems potentially solved, the issues with the lineup have the spotlight to themselves.
The Rangers are six games out and are possibly losing Nelson Cruz for the season. The offense clearly has major problems due to underperforming guys like Elvis Andrus, David Murphy and Mitch Moreland. To be real contenders the Rangers will need to replace Cruz and either Murphy or Moreland. Simply put, I do not see the Rangers being able to trade for the kind of hitter it is going to take to replace him, but even if they do replace Cruz this offense is still not good enough to win this division. Even if something wild happens, like Jose Bautista or Giancarlo Stanton becoming available, it is likely the price will be too high to get either Bautista or Stanton and upgrade on Murphy.
I understand why the Rangers got Garza when they did. We were only two games down and it appeared that fixing the rotation might just be the injection this team needed. With the kind of rotation the Rangers had built this team could be a dangerous playoff team. A playoff series starting Darvish, Garza, Holland, and Ogando (Or Harrison, Lewis or Perez) would mean the Rangers could give any team a tough series. The trick is getting to the playoffs. Since the Garza deal things have gone sour on the front office. The suspension news came out and the offense has dropped into a funk causing a two and eight skid following the break.
Maybe it is too early put a fork in this team but if the front office deals for a big bat and this team does not rip off a serious hot streak it is going to be a mistake. Not only do we need a hot streak to get back in this, we need the A’s to not play their consistently good ball for the month of August and perhaps September too. I am not ready to throw in the towel but neither do I think that this team should spend any more prospects on rentals.