A Change In Philosophy

Injuries to the Texas Rangers pitching staff have become all to familiar. Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison, Martin Perez, Neftali Feliz and now Derek Holland have all been injured in the last two seasons. While the Rangers coaching staff and front office overcame those injuries with young talent from within or additions from outside, the fact is that injuries are coming at an incredible rate. Having minor league talent able to step into major league roles is a luxury that the Rangers had in 2102 and 2013 with Nick Tepesch, Justin Grimm and others. However with the mid-season trades that Texas pulled off in the last few years, the minor league corps of pitchers is significantly diminished.
Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels hinted at the end of 2013 that a change in philosophy, in regards to trading away young talent, may be on the horizon. Justin Grimm, CJ Edwards and Neil Ramirez have now departed to other teams. While Edwards is not ready to step into a major league dugout at the moment, the other two players are either ready, or close. All three of those youngsters would look nice on Texas minor league rosters right now.

Texas still has young pitching talent. Luke Jackson, Wilmer Font, Ben Rowen and hopefully Cody Buckel, with a resurgence, can step in any role the Major League club may need in 2014 or beyond. Robbie Ross, Tanner Scheppers, Nick Tepesch and others have been able to step in when called upon and Texas may very well need more from Round Rock or Frisco in the coming season.

Holding on to young pitchers or trading them away for a proven player is a fine line indeed. The Cliff Lee trade was exactly what the 2010 Rangers needed, while the experiments of Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster were not what was expected, in terms or production. Trades and prospects, alike, are gambles. I think we’ll see Jon Daniels and staff gamble on propects in the coming years versus trading them away for veteran pitchers at the deadline. That is, unless a proven, top of the rotation pitcher becomes available, like a David Price.

Price’s name has been bantied about over the winter. Obviously Price would been a huge upgrade to anyone’s pitching staff and I doubt any team would turn him down in a trade, if the asking price was right. However with Tampa acquiring Grant Balfour and with their young, very talented staff, a David Price trade seems unlikely this season.

There are other trade chips for Texas, with Rougned Odor or Luis Sardinas, to name a couple. We may very well see one or both of those players dealt this year, but I wouldn’t put my money on JD trading away pitching. This change in philosophy may be just what is needed to keep the Texas Ranger train rolling.

Patrick Despain
Patrick is a member of the IBWAA and creator of Shutdown Inning. He was raised him Arlington, Texas and grew up watching games on HSE and listening to Eric Nadel and Mark Holtz on the radio. He is a long time Rangers fan and never achieved his dream of being a bat boy. He know lives in Georgia with dreams of a Texas return.

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