One of few vital dates marked on any baseball analyst’s calendar is fast approaching. The fortunate sane people in the world know it a July 31, but the percentage of the population suffering from a severe mental disorder known as baseball fandom call it the trade deadline.
As the Rangers are in the middle of what could possibly be their best season in Arlington, but still sitting three games behind the Angles in the AL West, what Rangers management does—or does not—do will likely be crucial in determining the outcome of the season.
If the Rangers want to make the playoffs for just the fourth time since the organization was established, they will have to manage the deadline with maximum caution. They will have to be able to fight off temptation to make sexy, but unwise deals, and they will also have to have the courage to pull the trigger when the time is right.
Throughout the years we have seen many teams make—and break—their season at the deadline. With the heat setting in and the team beginning to struggle, there is no doubt that this deadline is a make or break time for the Texas Rangers.
So now that we’re clear on what’s at stake, it’s time to take a look at the do’s and don’ts for the Texas Rangers and the 2009 MLB trade deadline.
- Try to catch the big fish - In order for the Rangers to acquire Roy Halladay from the Blue Jays, it would cost the Rangers a fortune any way you look at it.
Their only options would be to either trade pieces valuable pieces of their offense such as Hank Blalock and Marlon Byrd, or trade away possibly even more valuable young talent in the farm system. History shows that dynasties are built in the farm system, and it’s not worth risking the future for maybe one playoff appearance.
- Mess with the role players– While Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, and Elvis Andrus are staying put, the key pieces to the Rangers success are the role players. Marlon Byrd, Andruw Jones, Omar Vizquel, and the crew don’t get as much glory, although they have has their moments, but they are the backbone of the team.
Championships are won with the right mix of stars and role players, and right now the Rangers are very close to having the right mix. If you are going to trade someone, get rid of your underachievers such as Chris Davis and Taylor Teagarden.
- Sell the farm – The Atlanta Braves are a prime example. The key to long-term success in Major League Baseball lies in the farm system. The Yankees can buy, and buy and buy, but they are yet to win a World Series with players coming from all over.
The 1996-2001ish Yankee Dynasty was built mostly on home grown talent. The Rangers have the No. 1 ranked farm system in baseball, and that means they have the best chance at future success. It may be necessary to trade one prospect, but whatever you do, don’t sacrifice the future of the franchise.
- Try to buy low – The Rangers can look to take a look at getting a great deal on guys having a letdown season such as Cliff Lee of the Indians and Matt Capps of the Pirates. Lee won the AL Cy Young last year, but has strolled for the most part in 2009. But he has shown flashes of greatness, and with a fresh start, Cliff Lee could become the difference maker for the Rangers.
Capps has had an unspectacular season as the Pirates’ closer, but does have some pretty good stuff. Capps likely wouldn’t assume the closer role in Arlington, but he could give the bullpen a boost.
- Pirate the Pirates – Matt Capps has already been mentioned, but how about Zach Duke? The Texas native is having a pretty solid season in Pittsburgh, posting a 3.38 ERA.
The Pirates are willing to take what they can get, and if Nolan Ryan and the Rangers’ front office can pull off a reasonable deal for either Capps, Duke, or maybe even both, it could be huge.
- Make the playoffs, but hold on to long-term success – If you have figured out how to do that in Major League baseball, then you likely have a World Series ring or two on your fingers.