“The rule is this. If you can’t spot the sucker at the table within the first hour, then you are the sucker.” – Michael McDermott, Rounders
If we didn’t know it prior to Monday, we all do now. Do not sit down and play poker at the same table as Jon Daniels. Ever.
One more time, the Rangers GM owned the MLB trade deadline, and not by a slight margin. No, he didn’t rein in another quality starting pitcher for the rotation, but guess what – no one did (the market prices were simply too high). What he did do was give the Rangers the most talented catcher since (dare we say it) Ivan Rodriguez.
No, Jonathan Lucroy is not the second coming of Pudge, but he’s a quality hitter who plays solid defense and is currently a top-five talent at his position. When rumors began last week that the Rangers were in on Lucroy, the talk was that it would take at least Joey Gallo as part of the deal to get him.
When the dust settled, not only did Lucroy become a Ranger, but Milwaukee’s closer Jeremy Jeffress came to Texas as part of the deal as well. Carlos Beltran, having an amazing season with the Yankees, also became a Ranger at the deadline. And Gallo (and Profar and Mazara) stayed.
Don’t misunderstand – quality prospects went back to Milwaukee and New York as part of the deals; former high picks Dillon Tate, Luis Ortiz and Lewis Brinson were dealt away and are excellent prospects. But the truth is – who knows how good they are ultimately going to be? I’m sure they will be good and have the chance to be great. That’s what happens when you invest heavily into your scouting staff and draft well every year, it gives you myriad ammunition to go do what Daniels did.
Back to the high potential of the prospects that have departed – does it really matter if they turn out to be studs in the majors in five or six years? Somewhat, but when you have the chance to go grab a World Series championship, especially with how the 2010 and 2011 seasons ended, it’s time to bet big. In the end, it’s worth it. Daniels and the Rangers are obviously going for it; his moves have given the Rangers one of the best lineups in baseball. Yes, they still need starting pitching, but the prices in the marketplace were simply too high.
Daniels ultimately made the right choice in refusing to part with Gallo, Profar or Mazara. If you want to talk about potential, we’ve seen what they can already do at the major league level (though Mr. Gallo currently looks like the 2009 version of Chris Davis and hopefully develops into the 2013 version that hit 53 home runs).
What’s that? The Rangers now have depleted their stable of young arms to grow for future rotations? Hogwash. Let ‘em take 20 pitchers in next June’s draft. There’s a draft every June, and an opportunity to stock up more assets to grow.
The time to win is now and the Rangers have set themselves up for their best kick at the can since, well, 2011. The best news – Lucroy is signed next year for a low $5.25 million and will probably be floated a contract extension before all is said and done. He’s a known MLB commodity that will certainly be around for a while (at a very important position).
Poker legend Doyle Brunson said the beauty of no-limit poker is the ability for a player to put others to a decision on all of their chips. Look out, because Jon Daniels is back at the table, and he just went all-in.