Jon Daniels Knows the Texas Rangers Aren’t Far from Contending
By Ben Zajdel
By essentially standing pat at the trade deadline, Jon Daniels is implying that the Texas Rangers have a chance to contend in 2020.
The trade deadline passed, and the Texas Rangers didn’t do much. A month ago, when we were all arguing about who would get moved and for what, I guarantee no one expected that the big moves Jon Daniels would make would amount to Chris Martin and some minor league players for some other minor league players and money. But that’s what happened.
I expected guys like Mike Minor, Hunter Pence and Shin-Soo Choo to be moved. They’ve been valuable this season, and there were plenty of contenders who could have used an outfield bat or a top-line starting pitcher. As the deadline crept closer, I found the lack of rumors surrounding them surprising. All of Texas’ assumed trade pieces ended up staying in Arlington.
Without knowing what kind of offers the Rangers were getting (and we’ll never know–Texas is one of the tightest front offices around), it’s tough to say Daniels made a mistake by not moving some of the veterans we thought would be traded. But I think it’s safe to lean in the direction that the Rangers valued Minor, Pence, Choo, and other players on the block rather highly.
I think that speaks to where Daniels believes this team is on the road to contention. If the Rangers were at the beginning of a rebuild, Daniels would have sold this team down to scrap. He would have traded any veteran with value for any prospects he thought had a chance at being major league baseball players. We’d be watching two months of minor league players auditioning for jobs in 2020, and we all know that’s not fun baseball.
It’s easy to look at this Rangers team, which at one point held the top wild card spot and was only a few games back of the first place Astros, and see them making noise in the postseason.
I would think that unless they’re overwhelmed by a trade offer this offseason, they will keep Minor and Lance Lynn around. Texas can add some veteran pitchers in the winter, and some of their more heralded prospects will be ready to contribute, as well. Add in a full season of Willie Calhoun, a healthy Joey Gallo, bounce back years from Nomar Mazara and Ronald Guzman, mix in some veteran acquisitions like Danny Santana or Hunter Pence, and the Rangers are as equipped to make a playoff run as anyone.
If you’re Jon Daniels and you believe your team is that close, any trades you’d accept would have to blow you away. Otherwise, you risk setting back your rebuild into the early stages once again, which is pointless because the whole purpose of a rebuild is to set your team up for a World Series. So maybe by not making any moves, Daniels is telling us how good he thinks this team is, or can be by 2020.