Over the last four seasons, Rangers' General Manager Jon Daniels has swung a lot of deals at or near the July trade deadline. Some of those include bringing Cliff Lee, Koji Uehara, Matt Garza, Geovany Soto, Ryan Dempster and Mike Adams to Arlington, to name a few. While some of those trades helped the Rangers reach two consecutive World Series, others didn't work out as planned. The flip side of those trades, is the players that have left the Texas farm system in those deals and most of the players gained have left Texas.
- Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland netted Mike Adams
- Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter got Texas Koji Uehara
- Jake Brigham (and then later Barrett Loux instead) was for Geovany Soto
- Christian Villanueva and Kyle Hendricks netted Ryan Dempster
- Mike Olt, Justin Grimm, CJ Edwards and Neil Ramirez were traded for Matt Garza
- Justin Smoak,Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke and Matthew Lawson were traded for Cliff Lee
Those trades were done for the short term with a World Series in mind and only Geovany Soto remains on the Rangers roster. This franchise is in a very different spot than it was in 2010, '11, '12 and '13. With this year's World Series hopes for the Rangers on the Disabled List, trading prospects for a proven veteran may not be smart money. While JD & Co. have done what they think needed to be done to reach the ultimate goal, this season is very different. Anything can happen in baseball, but realistically, looking at this team right now, it doesn't seem like 2014 is going to be its year.
Looking at 2015, the starting rotation is still a question mark as we sit here today. Darvish will be the ace, followed by Derek Holland and then......? With Martin Perez shelved until May or later, Matt Harrison's career in question and the two Nicks (Martinez and Tepesch) being young and unproven, it does look like JD will have to 'get some pitching in here.' That could possibly clear up the emerging middle infielder logjam.
The two names that have been thrown around have been David Price and Jeff Samardzija. Samardzija or 'Shark' as he's also known is a very good pitcher for the Cubs who has a 2.54 ERA and a 1.154 WHIP. Jeff has pitched like an ace for most of 2014, but he has had problems getting outs in the past. He is under team control through next year, which makes trading for him inviting. On the other side of the coin, he is 29 and if it took Olt, Ramirez, Edwards and Grimm to get Garza; I'd hate to see what the Cubs want for Shark. After giving up a lot of prospects in the past few years, and with the lack of success found in trading for Cubs hurlers, I just don't see a way that JD ever pulls the trigger on this one.
David Price is an ace and is also under team control through 2015. He'll turn 29 in August and has struggled in 2014. While getting a David Price in Arlington to pair alongside Yu Darvish is a very tantalizing idea, the cost will be astronomical. Olt, Ramirez, Edwards and Grimm for Matt Garza? Insert a number of names of top prospects you want the Rangers to keep. That's what it would take to get David Price. Unless you can get Price at a reasonable cost and get him extended, it seems unlikely that Daniels will look very hard at this deal. I love David Price and would love to have him pitching in Arlington every fifth day, but I also want to see Joey Gallo, Lewis Brinson, Jorge Alfaro, Chi Chi Gonzalez and a number of other minor leaguers stay in the Rangers' farm system.
One thing that we need to keep in mind is that Yu Darvish can opt out with a combination of Cy Young Award finishes. The goal is for the Rangers to keep one of the best pitchers in the game on their roster. This roster when healthy is a contender, but the younger players will come up and fill the spots of players like Alex Rios, Geovany Soto and even an aging Adrian Beltre at some point. The younger pitchers will come up and fill in the spots that will eventually be vacated by Colby Lewis and Joe Saunders. Those players are the young stars like Gallo, Alfaro, Chi Chi and others. Having a stocked farm system is important to keep the club on a winning track and trading these players will hurt. Having a team that can contend for years also makes it much more attractive for Darvish to stay here. There have been rumblings of the Rangers offering an extension, but nothing tangible has emerged.
Winning the World Series is the ultimate goal, but you have to keep the players that allow you to be able to contend for that. Price and Shark probably get you a little closer, but at what cost? Winning the World Series would be tremendous for this team. However, winning multiple would be even better. In 2017 Joey Gallo, Jorge Alfaro, Alec Asher, Luke Jackson, Chi Chi Gonzalez and other stars in the system might be more valuable than Shark or Price for a year and a half.
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