The Last Time
It is time for us to realize that this Rangers team is not going to the promised land this year (I pray and hope that I am wrong and will be glad to eat crow if I am). I am not trying to imply that Mitch Moreland and Rougned Odor were the key pieces to this team’s success, but at some point a team just runs out of viable pieces to replace the starters and stay competitive. When Prince Fielder and Jurickson Profar were lost for the season the idea that this team could stay competitive with Moreland and Odor were not illogical propositions, but it was not ideal. Now with Moreland out for at least three months and Odor hurting his shoulder on Sunday, it became apparent that the Rangers cupboard is now bare. The options at first base are bleak and Luis Sardinas appears to be the starting 2nd baseman until we know more about Odor’s injury and there are still 99 games left this year with no margin of error on the injury front regardless of the position. The Rangers currently have 13 players on the disabled list, which leads all of MLB and have had 19 total players on the disabled list so far this season.
Ron Washington is doing everything he can and many believe (me included) that he is doing some of his best work ever as the manager of this franchise. Baseball Prospectus has the Rangers current playoff percentage at 11.0% and that number will drop steadily as the games add up with this depleted roster. So, assuming that this team will not be headed towards the post-season what can we expect? The last time the Rangers were irrelevant by July, you have to go back to 2007 when they were 34-47 on July 1st and were 16.5 games back in the division. That in itself is a testament to the job this ownership and leadership group has done in keeping this team relevant and competitive year in and year out since that season, but let’s go back to 2007 and see how Jon Daniels handled a year that had little hope.
In July of the “lost” season of 2007 the Rangers front office did the following:
July 2, 2007– Rangers sign Martin Perez as a free agent.
I think it’s safe to say this was a huge win for the Rangers, but this would have happened regardless of how the big league club was performing, but I had to throw it in anyways.
July 27, 2007– Traded Kenny Lofton to the Cleveland Indians for catcher Max Ramirez. Not much to say about this one, but at the time it was nice to think the Rangers may get a contributing catcher for an aging veteran on a one-year contract. Oh well…. think of this as Jon Daniels’ warm-up trade of 2007.
July 31, 2007- Traded Ron Mahay and Mark Teixeira to the Atlanta Braves for Beau Jones, Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. This one speaks for itself…enough has been written and spoken about in regards to this trade, but don’t expect it to happen again. It’s a once in a lifetime type of trade for a ballclub. But, wouldn’t it be cool if it did?
July 31, 2007– Traded Eric Gagne and cash to the Boston Red Sox for Engel Beltre, Kason Gabbard, and David Murphy. If this was the only trade that had occurred in 2007 it would have been considered a blockbuster win for the Rangers, but because of the Teixeira deal it is overshadowed and often forgotten.
Almost all Ranger fans know that the trades made in 2007 set this team up for a lot of the successes they have experienced the last five years, but is there a Mark Teixeira or Eric Gagne on this team? Can Jon Daniels duplicate some of the trade magic he had in 2007? The answer to the first question is no, but the real problem is that this team is in a completely different place than it was in 2007. Jon Daniels isn’t in a place where he can just dump some salary and reload the farm. This team is built to win now and it really cannot afford to hit restart and try again in three or four years. Trading Alex Rios or Joakim Soria are options and could happen, but Rios is proving this year that the Rangers may want to pick up his team option for next year (13.5 mm) and Soria is in the exact same boat except his option is only 7 milion for 2015. Do the Rangers sit tight and try it again in 2015 (once again, I hope they storm back and get in the playoffs this year) or do they try to get something in return for guys like Alex Rios, Joakim Soria, or maybe Adrian Beltre?
Regardless of what happens, this team’s immediate future in 2014 may look bleak, but unlike 2007, the future appears to still be bright once everyone returns from the DL and Ron Washington can finally write out the lineup that Jon Daniels and the ownership group intended.