“It’s Time” … To Blow Up the Rangers
By Eric Reining
and a little music to read along to
Last September during the Rangers’ historic collapse, I was one of the dwindling few actually convinced everything would come together, that Texas was just waiting for the right time to flip the switch, and magically go on a torrid postseason run.
I was wrong.
Then the offseason began. And again, somehow I convinced myself it was the Rangers holding all the cards. We’d lose Josh Hamilton, and make up for it by signing Zack Greinke and trading for Justin Upton. Hey, maybe Jon Daniels would swing a trade for someone like David Price, or maybe another big bat. Was I crazy for thinking this? Was I delusional? Were the Rangers really not who I thought they were?
I’m cursed by my faith and optimism when it comes to my favorite baseball team, but when shit hits the fan as it seemingly has for the last three months, I’ve no problem with exchanging my red and blue blinders for a more realistic, more radical set.
There’s no Zack Greinke. There’s no Josh Hamilton. We may very well have lost our chance at Justin Upton, and, according to Danny Knobler of CBS, it’s “fair to say [the Rangers] don’t love any [other] options out there.”
If there aren’t any obvious candidates to improve this club into potential 2013 postseason contention, then what’s the point of fielding a team for an exercise in futility?
The way I see it, we have three options:
(1) Do nothing worthwhile and play next season with a roster capable of maybe 80-85 wins.
(2) Trade Minor League assets for players the front office does love in hopes of adding 10-15 wins.
(3) Trade Major League assets for prospects and build for 2014-’15.
If I’m being completely honest with you, I’m ready to say ‘The hell with it’ and go for option (3). The thing is, the Rangers are far and away superior to the Angels both financially (in terms of available money moving forward) and through their farm system. If they really wanted to go through with plan (2), they’d likely be surrendering fairly significant portions of both those advantages.
Whether you like it or not, especially with how recently removed we are from being the best team in baseball, the Rangers do have a lot to gain going through with the rebuilding plan. On the entire Major League roster, I see only Yu Darvish and Jurickson Profar as the two players I would absolutely not give away in any deal no matter what.
All of Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz, David Murphy, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Joe Nathan would be sought after commodities that would net returns, depending on how they were packaged, of epic proportions. We could easily add 5-6 nearly-Major-League-ready impact prospects from that list of players, along with higher-ceiling talent through the lower levels. The point is, it’s not about replenishing the farm, because the Rangers are already among the top Minor League systems going, but, rather, accumulating as many parts as possible to make pushes at players like Giancarlo Stanton, Justin Upton, David Price, and Jason Heyward.
It’s only December, and yes, this is a completely reactionary strategy based off the idea that the Angels may very well have bought themselves a division yesterday. But still. I think it’s a very logical, rational take on a team that appears to be going nowhere, and fast. I simply will not understand it if the Rangers plan on wasting another year of Elvis Andrus‘s value, or Matt Harrison‘s, when we could be looking to improve the future that, right now, looks to be escaping us.
I appreciate the World Series runs in 2010 and 2011, and how great the Rangers were for all but a month of last year. But if we’re not going to change for the better in 2013, then we should be looking forward beyond that.