Rangers GM Jon Daniels Has Many Options As The Deadline Approaches

Bo ReedCorrespondent IJuly 27, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 16:  Cliff Lee #31 of the Cleveland Indians pitches against the New York Yankees during opening day at the new Yankee Stadium on April 16, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. This is the first regular season MLB game being played at the new venue which replaced the old Yankee Stadium as the Yankees home field.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

In the past 36 seasons of Texas Rangers baseball, two things have been rather consistent: an offense that absolutely rakes the cover off the ball, and pitching that makes all the runs scored pointless.


In 2009, the Rangers have seen history not only change, but reverse completely. The pitching is competitive but now the offense can’t score runs on a consistent basis. Many pundits have always said things like “if they can only get pitching,” well they’ve got it now and still sit in second place.


What is laughable is the national media and some local writers calling for the Rangers to deal for a pitcher, preferably Roy Halladay, when anyone that watches this team on a daily basis would clearly see the gaping hole in the middle of the order.


They need a bat much more than a starting pitcher.


I’m not saying an addition to the rotation wouldn’t help things for the Rangers this season, far from it. If they are going to give up the talent being discussed then they need more than a starting pitcher.


This time of year rumors swirl 24 hours a day until the deadline passes, and it always depends on who you listen to in regards to the validity of the rumor.


The latest view of the landscape has the Rangers in talks with the Blue Jays about Roy Halladay, with Cleveland about both Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez and scouting the Nationals for bats.


The price for Roy Halladay appears to be lefty Derek Holland, AAA first baseman Justin Smoak and an additional two top prospects. A hefty price to fill what appears to be the second most important hole on the Rangers.


Not to mention this juicy quote from a Toronto official, courtesy of AOL Fanhouse, who says the Blue Jays want every last good guy a team has or they aren’t trading him.


For the Jay’s sake, I hope that isn’t accurate.


After this quote slipped through and J.P. Ricciardi’s ridiculous self-imposed deadline of July 28th, is this really a GM you want the Rangers dealing with?


If Ricciardi is indeed bluffing to get the best deal then he better have an offer in place he’s willing to accept because his rhetoric over the weekend will scare off teams who match up with the Jays.


If he’s not bluffing then he clearly wasn’t going to trade Halladay in the first place. The Rangers have been and should continue to talk to the Jays about Halladay, but a deal is highly unlikely at this point.


Luckily Rangers general manager Jon Daniels can walk and chew gum at the same time.


Rumor has it the Rangers are looking at Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham in Washington to fortify the offense. Any impact bat will cost significantly less in prospects than Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee and probably have a bigger impact.


Here’s my question, if the Rangers are motivated to deal some of their top prospects for a starter then why not deal them to Cleveland for Lee and expand the deal to include Martinez.


Talk about killing two birds with one very big stone.


The blockbuster would give the Rangers an upgrade in the rotation that’s cheaper than Roy Halladay and insert a big stick into the middle of the Rangers order.


Granted, the Rangers would probably have to throw in additional prospects than they would with the Blue Jays, but at least they fill both of their big holes in the deal.


Should the deadline pass and the Rangers do not make a trade for a hitter, the lineup will still need to be reinforced. Any help would then come from the minor leagues, which isn’t exactly a bad thing.


Chris Davis seems to have found his stroke at AAA Oklahoma hitting .347 with 14 strikeouts and 7 walks. The 14 strikeouts are high, but nothing compared to his pace with the Rangers.  Julio Borbon is hitting .303 with 30 walks and 23 stolen bases and 37 strikeouts.


Not stellar numbers, but not a bad backup plan if the price for a trade continues to be in the stratosphere.


No matter what they do, the Rangers should not give in to the Blue Jays demands for at least four untouchable can’t miss prospects.


Let Ricciardi explain to the Jays fan base why he didn’t take advantage of a good deal when given the opportunity, especially when Halladay walks after next season.