It’s March. It’s not time to fire up the rumor train and yell out “ALL ABOARD,” on trading one of your best players, especially if that player is Texas Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre.
Now I’m all for interesting articles that are well thought out and make sense, but when you talk about trading the best player a team has based on another player missing the entire season it’s then that I have to wonder where exactly you’re coming from.
Such was the case with an ESPN article written this past Friday by Dave Schoenfield. Normally I wouldn’t call out a write, especially one as talented as Dave is, but I do have to take exception with this particular one. The loss of Yu Darvish is absolutely no reason to give up on their entire season, especially since we’re still in the middle of spring training. One player, who plays every fifth day, doesn’t make or break a team that boasts the like of Prince Fielder, Derek Holland, Shin-Soo Choo, Rougned Odor, the aforementioned Beltre, Yovani Gallardo not to mention getting Martin Perez back from Tommy John surgery somewhere around the All-Star break.
Something Schoenfield failed to mention.
Couldn’t one argue that Perez could give the Rangers the kind of chance to win that Darvish did? Even with Darvish, the Rangers weren’t winning every single one of his starts which makes this argument even more head scratching.
“I’m not even sure the Rangers are a .500 team now. To get there, they’ll need big bounce-back seasons from Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo, rapid improvement from Rougned Odor and a lot to go right in the rotation and bullpen.”
One guy takes the Rangers from AL West contenders to a less than .500 team? I don’t see how that math works out. Fielder hadn’t missed a single game during his career until last season, so let’s call it a fluke if that’s fair to do, and if you’ve seen the reports on Choo so far during spring training, he looks completely healthy and done with the ankle injury that limited him so much during the 2014 season. As for that “rapid improvement,” what exactly where people expecting of Odor in his first full season in the big leagues? I don’t know that .259 with 9 home runs and 48 RBI is a terrible opening act for a 20-year-old rookie.
“It seems unlikely that the Rangers will be in the same class as the Angels and Mariners, and maybe not even the A’s and Astros.”
The Seattle Mariners certainly made some big time improvements to their ball club, including the addition of former Ranger Nelson Cruz, and I don’t know many who would say the Mariners aren’t the favorites in the division going into this season. As for the Angels, don’t they have as many questions as the Rangers coming into this season? How healthy is Garrett Richards going to be coming off knee surgery? Can Albert Pujols stay healthy for a full season? What Josh Hamilton will the Angels be getting back once he returns from shoulder surgery? Can C.J. Wilson average more than his less than six innings per start from last season? Not to point this out, but Schoenfield listed Fangraph’s prediction for the Angels back in late December and that number was 84 wins. Anyone think the Rangers can’t get to 84 wins? Anyone?
I can understand listing the Rangers below the Angels and Mariners but to not be in the “same class” as the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics? Someone needs to explain this one to me. Josh Donaldson? Gone. Yoenis Cespedes? Gone. Eric Sogard? No. Nick Punto? No. Brandon Moss? Also gone. As is Luke Gregerson and his 2.12 ERA out of the Oakland bullpen. Yet they’re still in a better class than the Rangers. Ok.
As for the Astros, how much of an improvement can they make from their team .242 batting average from last season? Even ESPN’s Jayson Stark called them a “high strikeout lineup.”
Schoenfield points out a piece from a newsletter written by Joe Sheehan in which the first sentence says, “The next challenge for Daniels will be a painful one — exploring trade possibilities for Beltre, a free agent after 2016 who could make a difference right now to a dozen teams.” But then he finishes his article by saying, “if it’s going to be another lost season….,” the Rangers should explore trading the third baseman.
Which is it? Either it’s a lost season or it’s not.
The Rangers had a rash of injuries last season that no one saw coming and that was, ultimately, why the 2014 season went down the drain so quickly. While injuries are certainly a part of baseball, you have to realize that this team will have what it didn’t have a year ago.
Derek Holland for a full season. Martin Perez comes back. Jurickson Profar never mattered in this discussion. Prince Fielder for a full season. Shin-Soo Choo is completely healthy. Matt Harrison could be back.
Yet that still doesn’t put them in the thick of the AL West race? I guess we’ll see what happens.
The bottom line? Adrian Beltre isn’t going anywhere. Especially in the middle of March.