“Prospects Will Break Your Heart”

Rockwall native Jake Thompson pitched five innings in his home debut April 11 for the Frisco RoughRiders at Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco. Thompson, who attended Rockwall-Heath High School, gave up three runs on five hits in a 4-0 loss to Northwest Arkansas. In his second game on April 17, Thompson (1-1) went six innings, allowed two hits and struck out four batters in a 2-0 win over the Arkansas Travelers.  The RoughRiders play Corpus Christi this weekend at Dr Pepper Ballpark. For more information, visit riders baseball.com.

You were right Mr. Parks but I never thought it would happen to me. I thought I was immune to prospect heart break like a lead footed teenager thinks he’s immune to speeding tickets. In the last five months both of those illusions have been shattered for me rather badly. As you might have heard the Rangers made a big trade for a really good baseball player and gave up a darn big haul to do so. I’m sure you have seen it before but I’m just going to put it on the page so I can process.

 

Philadelphia gets: Matt Harrison, Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Jake Thompson, Jerad Eickhoff, and Alec Asher.

Texas gets: Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman.

 

Ok. It’s on the page and as I’m writing this it has been made official. Since I’ve only been following the Ranger’s farm system for a few years this is the first farm busting trade I’ve witnessed. It hit me like a freight train but once the dust settled and my capslock tweets left your timelines I realized something: This was a necessary trade as well as a good one. Those of you who know me are aware of my endless optimism that extends heavily to prospects. I believe that every one of those five prospects are going to be big leaguers some day. I believe Nick Williams’ changes at the plate are for real and he will continue to mash in the Philly farm and in actual Philly. I believe that Alfaro is going to be a dominant big league catcher and no matter what Grant says I will always believe it. But I still believe that this was a good trade.

There are many things that need to be said about this trade but the first is this: The Rangers have not been super great at the whole “winning baseball games” thing for the last couple of years and that has been tough to watch. Jon Daniels knows this and wants you to know that he hates it even more than you do. Do you still remember how 2010 felt? I sure do. It was the first year I religiously followed baseball and the year I fell head over heels in love with it. And I feel that way again this year but right now I have to start with some goodbyes.

Start this at the 1:40 mark and read the next paragraph with it playing.

Goodbye to my dream of seeing Jorge Alfaro demolish baseballs and unleash the dragon that is his right arm on base runners while wearing a Texas uniform. Goodbye to my dream of seeing Texas boy Nick Williams spray line drives all over Globe Life Park while also wearing a Texas uniform. Goodbye to my dream of Rockwall native Jake Thompson throwing his first major league pitch in a uniform representing his home state. While losing these three dudes hurts, losing Harrison, Asher, and Eickhoff also feels a like a shank in the spleen. I’m also worried about Matt Harrison’s immediate assignment to the disabled list. That’s a lot of depth to give up for just two players. Those are three quality pitchers and also quality human beings. I only had the pleasure of meeting two, sorry Alec, but I’ve seen all three pitch and will hopefully watch all of them pitch in the bigs in the future. If you’re still playing the Sarah Mclachlan song please stop the song now before your eyes fill so completely with tears that you are unable to finish reading this.

This is a large haul to give up like I said but it is also a very necessary haul. The Ranger’s had the perfect time to strike this deal. Jon Daniels was benefitted first by the shopping of David Price as well as Hamels’ rejection of a trade to Houston. That last part is my personal favorite. Cole Hamels throws baseballs with his left hand. Cole Hamels has one of the nastiest change ups in baseball. Cole Hamels is horse/stud/some other positive adjective people often use about pitchers and he is an ace with a dominant post season track record. Yes I said ace, Gerry Fraley. My point being that humans like Hamels don’t grow on trees and when you’ve got a chance to get one for your team for multiple years and sane dollars you’ve got to pounce hard. The Ranger’s have a GM that is willing to make gutsy trades like that to make the team better.

It’s pretty neat to acquire the player you want at the deadline. It’s even neater when that player wanted to be traded to you as well. In his press conference with the DFW media Hamels stated that Dallas was the place he and his wife thought would be best for him. His decision was also slightly influenced by how highly Cliff Lee spoke of his time with the Rangers. Thanks Cliff! I’m sure Mr. Ranger Michael Young said a few nice things about his former team while he played with Hamels in 2013 as well. I’d recommend watching that press conference with Mr. Hamels because every word out of his mouth was exactly what Ranger fans wanted to hear.

The exclusion of Nomar Mazara and Lewis Brinson from the deal was huge. Mazara’s stock has been on a nonstop rise since he got hot last May and has yet to cool off, 15 months later. Lewis Brinson has been demolishing baseballs out in the California League this year and, were it not for Ryan Cordell and Nick Williams, would have been in Frisco a couple of weeks ago. While High Desert’s home park is among the most hitter friendly in baseball, Brinson hit 33 points higher away from home. I sure can’t wait to see him in person for the first time in Frisco at SDI night!

Many folks will try to tell you that this trade is just for 2016 and beyond. They might be right but I feel like it’s about this year too. There’s just something in my gut that feels right about this year like it did in 2010. That year we made a July trade for a lefty ace who had pitched in Philly. The Angels and Astros both lost last night and Texas hasn’t since the news of the Hamels trade broke three days ago. I don’t think that streak is going to end tonight either. There’s a winning feeling in this Texas air and I am hooked on that feeling.

Brice Paterik
Brice is a Junior Journalism major at Texas Tech University in pursuit of a career in Sports Journalism. Growing up in Dallas his whole life, Brice has been a Rangers fan since before he batted against a machine. He's a sucker for a high ceiling athletic prospect without a hit tool or 20 year olds who throw 100 mph and can't hit the zone. He over values every prospect and is a hopeless romantic for baseball. She's broken his heart a million times but he will always come back for more.

One comment

  • Keith Law said Hamels is “among the best left-handed starters in baseball. Even if his velocity slips as he gets older, he has all the ingredients to remain just as effective deep into his 30s. He was the most valuable trade asset on the market this summer.”

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