Sometimes the best deals are the ones you never make.
Rangers GM Jon Daniels was a busy man on Thursday, the non-waiver trade deadline in the Major Leagues. Let’s just say it’s a good thing he has the maximum data plan on his company cell phone.
That’s just it – finding trade discussion and possible partners around the league wasn’t an issue for Daniels. Finding the best deal was the real trick. In the end, the Rangers stayed pat at the deadline, with the players garnering the most interest – Alex Rios and Neal Cotts – sitting in their normal seats on the charter from Dallas to Cleveland on Thursday afternoon.
Word is that Daniels got plenty of interest for both, as well as some of the best players on the Texas roster. Teams also called about Yu Darvish and Adrian Beltre, but they weren’t going anywhere. The truth is – no one on the Texas roster was going anywhere. At least not today.
It wasn’t from a lack of trying. Daniels had already gotten the ball rolling earlier in the month when he moved Jason Frasor and Joakim Soria in exchange for three pitching prospects. Those deals made sense. Nothing presented to Daniels today did. A good GM doesn’t just make a trade to make a trade.
Now, does that mean there won’t be deals for Rios or Cotts in August? Not necessarily. In fact, the July 31 deadline isn’t much of a deadline at all. Last year, for instance, Rios was obtained from the White Sox in August, when a player must clear waivers in any deal. More and more August trades go down every year.
Daniels’ decision to hold on to Rios and Cotts gives the Rangers options. Texas holds a $13.5 million option on Rios for 2015 and has already had contract extension discussions with Cotts’ agent, who can become a free agent this winter.
Every decision right now is about 2015 and nothing more, which is exactly the way it should be. Texas may have the worst record in the majors right now, but that does not mean that the Rangers cannot bounce right back next season in a league that is beginning to mirror NFL parody by the year.
For one thing, the Rangers have more core players on the injured reserve list than flies on a rib roast. Jurickson Profar is expected to begin a throwing session in two weeks to prepare for the Arizona Fall League. Derek Holland makes his second rehab start Monday at Triple-A Round Rock. Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland are done for the year, but Daniels admitted that if the Rangers were in the race, they might be able to push it with Fielder.
The focus is on getting all of the injuries rehabbed now so that these players can have somewhat normal off seasons to be ready for Spring Training.
Pitching will again be a primary focus in preparing for 2015. Can Nick Martinez, Miles Mikolas or Nick Tepesch be part of an impactful rotation? Can Neftali Feliz be an effective closer again? Can young pitchers like Roman Mendez and Shawn Tolleson make the jump to be valuable members of the bullpen?
What to do about position players like Leonys Martin, Robinson Chirinos, Roughned Odor, Michael Choice and J.P. Arencibia? That’s not including young phenom Joey Gallo, who is doing quite well at Double-A Frisco. He is surely going to get a hard look during Spring Training for a possible Major League roster spot.
Maybe Rios or Cotts (or both) will also be around to be part of the puzzle. Or maybe not. There’s still time in August to make a trade. Better make sure that cell phone is charged up, just in case.