The Texas Rangers are going to the playoffs, and it is clear they are not going to be happy with just "being there."
Texas' nine-game lead in the AL West appears to be safe as the fledgling Angels search in vain for answers.
With the addition of Cliff Lee, most of baseball realizes the Rangers will be able to hang with any team in the playoffs, but Texas is clearly not interested in just "hanging." They are out to win their first world championship.
This is what going for it looks like, Angels fans.
Not satisfied with winning the biggest pitching prize at the trade deadline, Texas has kept busy acquiring key playoff pieces like Bengie Molina—a World Series champion catcher and clutch veteran leader.
Still not done, the Rangers acquired Jorge Cantu and his 54 RBI to help out at first base.
Their All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler goes on the disabled list, and boom! The Rangers waste no time in picking up two-time All-Star middle infielder Christian Guzman today to fill in.
So now they're done, right?
Today, the Rangers offered the Florida Marlins their top three prospects for pitching ace Josh Johnson and are still reportedly in the running for Adam Dunn.
Clearly Texas is making moves they feel they need to make in order to compete with the New York Yankees—not the Angels.
Granted, these players are no Alberto Callaspo, but something tells me baseball fans in the Lone Star State are willing to live with that.
Obviously, the Dan Haren move was nice for the Angels, but once again, it is too little, too late at the trade deadline.
It's a good thing the Angels did not make any short-term moves to try to save this season because it wouldn't have done any good. They would have hurt themselves long-term in the process.
In fact, Angels fans should be sending thank you cards to Derrek Lee right now for saving Angels GM Tony Reagins from himself.
However, it makes one wonder what the Angels could have done if they would have traded their prospects to supplement the key pieces they already had in place a few years ago—pieces that are now scattered across the baseball landscape.
Texas is doing what most Angels fans were screaming at the top of their lungs for then-Angels GM Bill Stoneman to do.
Stoneman balked at the idea—touting virtually every Angel prospect as an untradeable future Hall of Famer.
So, instead of having Alex Rodriguez and possibly a few more rings, the Angels instead retained the services of their "future Hall of Famers" Brandon Wood, Howie Kendrick, Jeff Mathis, and Erick Aybar. They also refused to trade baseball greats Casey Kotchman, Dallas McPherson, Joe Saunders, and Kevin Jepsen.
When they finally did part with a few of these individuals, some acted as if they had parted with Mickey Mantle.
Ask yourself this, Angels fans. Is there any talent in that group of eight that you couldn't acquire on any given year in free agency at a very reasonable price?
Then ask yourself, how often do you get the chance to make a trade for Babe Ruth? Because that is exactly who you passed on, Stoneman.
Texas understands that concept, despite having one of the top-ranked farm systems in baseball.
The Angels should have understood that, but they were too preoccupied falling in love with the fantasy of an impending dynasty that never materialized.
Instead, the Angels became to this decade what the Atlanta Braves were to the last—a very good team that never took the next step to greatness.
Now the Angels find themselves in a quagmire of underachieving, untradeable disappointments. They will now have to buy themselves out of this situation through free agent purchases during the offseason.
Not only have their prospects underperformed, they have managed to turn a team on the verge of greatness into nothing more than a .500 ball club.
As of now, and hopefully before the trade deadline, Reagins should consider nobody untradeable.
In the meantime, Angels fans will be gazing enviously toward Texas to see if their gamble pays off. If it does, Angels fans will continue to wonder about what might have been.
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