After missing out on essentially every big-name free-agent signing and failing to execute a trade for Justin Upton before the Arizona Diamondbacks addressed their shortstop situation, Texas Rangers’ general manager Jon Daniels’ failure to sign Josh Hamilton may have caused irreparable damage.
Reported to be involved in ongoing discussions with both the Rangers and Seattle Mariners, Hamilton upended the baseball world by agreeing to a five-year, $125 million deal with the division-rival Los Angeles Angels. And, after last year's signing of C.J. Wilson, the Angels have lured a top free agent away from the Rangers in consecutive offseasons.
At the winter meetings last week, Daniels was working hard to acquire Upton, even constructing a potential three- or four-team trade to ensure it transpired. But because the Rangers were unwilling to part with one of their talented young shortstops in Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar, baseball’s top prospect, they were ultimately left out of the final three-team, nine-player deal on Tuesday night.
But it’s not just that: Daniels has had plenty of opportunities elsewhere.
Throughout it all the organization’s belief that it would ultimately re-sign Josh Hamilton has been a safety valve. But after missing out on the beloved 31-year-old outfielder, the organization now finds itself in a precarious situation.
Do the Rangers trust their pre-existing core of players and try to sign the best remaining free agents or part with a significant portion of their loaded farm system to acquire an All-Star-caliber player?
Due to the depleted free-agent market and added pressure of having to counter the Angels-Hamilton deal, I fear that Daniels’ next move will be out of desperation rather than necessity. And because the Rangers have repeatedly struck out this offseason and likely feel the need to overcompensate, the move could be massive, perhaps even historical—such as trade for a David Price or Giancarlo Stanton.
As exciting as it may sound, the worst thing that Daniels could do at the moment is hastily trade away the team’s future, which would likely be the price for either of the aforementioned players.
The Rangers would have to trade Jurickson Profar, Mike Olt, Martin Perez and Cody Buckel, as well as at least one of their other highly regarded international signings like Jorge Alfaro, Luis Sardinas or Ronald Guzman. Basically, such a trade has the potential to cripple the team’s ultra-talented farm system.
And considering the wealth of talent remaining on their big league roster and down on the farm, a blockbuster trade of that magnitude would be both catastrophic and moronic.