The Texas Rangers have either been in the top spot in the AL West division or, as they are right now, have been just a few games back of the leader which the Seattle Mariners are as we sit here on May 24th.
But, in just a few months time, general manager Jon Daniels will have some tough decisions ahead of him. If he plays his cards right he could put this team right back on top of the division to stay as the team did last season, running past the Houston Astros who dared anyone in the division to, “come and take it,” which the Rangers eventually did.
This might be the toughest deadline the Rangers may face, however, because it comes with any number of tough decisions. There will be a number of suitors who will call about young outfielder Nomar Mazara and most Ranger fans, as well as the Dallas/Fort Worth media, will tell you is one of the few untouchable pieces on the roster.
As for everyone else, they could and should be fair game. That goes for one Derek Holland as well.
In fact, this might be the year that Daniels finally pulls the trigger and trades the left hander while there is still some value left in him, especially after Holland has put two straight solid outings together in a row after going through a very rough stretch that saw him last less than three innings in more than one start.
I’ve been one of the few voices that has wanted Texas to trade Holland no matter what kind of tie to the community he has had over his time here. Make no mistake, one might compare him to Dallas Maverick star Dirk Nowitzki that way and it might be one of the reasons the Rangers haven’t traded the lefty to this point.
Holland isn’t the only one who should be on the trade block. Texas really should listen on just about everyone else on the roster aside from Adrian Beltre who signed a two-year contract extension just one month ago.
Elvis Andrus, Joey Gallo, Jurickson Profar, even Mitch Moreland shouldn’t be untouchable and some wonder if Texas would want to unload Prince Fielder. I doubt that kind of trade would be possible without Texas having to pick up most of what’s left on Fielder’s deal ($96 million + $12 million or so for the rest of 2016) unless there’s a team that has the cash to take it over and a need for someone like him on their team.
The other problem with moving Fielder is the lack of power he has shown this season. He seems to have turned into a singles and doubles hitter instead of a guy who could launch 25 or more home runs out of any ballpark he steps into.
Andrus might be another problem as well due to the contract that he is still owed ($88 million with $15 million option in 2023) which could turn out to be one of the worst contracts Daniels has signed a player to outside of perhaps Shin Soo Choo. Though, at least to me, the jury is still out on that one.
Texas has a lot of money tied up in just a few players and that might be the biggest reason this team isn’t able to make the moves they need to make in order to keep them in contention for the remainder of the season. They also need to figure out a way to move around some cash so they can free up the ability to offer a long term deal to their top of the rotation pitcher, Yu Darvish, who will be a free agent after the 2017 season.
There are those who believe he would rather sign anywhere but Texas but others, myself included, who think Darvish wants to stay with this team because of the leadership in the clubhouse and because of manager Jeff Banister.
Maybe that’s true and maybe it’s not, only time will tell. Though having Cole Hamels in the rotation certainly will lessen the blow if Darvish does walk away to sign elsewhere.
They need depth in the rotation and they could certainly use help in the bullpen especially with the struggles of now former closer Shawn Tolleson though the team will get that help with Keona Kela (elbow surgery) and Tanner Scheppers (knee surgery) due back from injury sometime around the All Star break if all goes as planned.
However there’s no telling if either will be healthy the rest of the way or if either can have the same kind of success they’ve had in the past, especially with Kela. Scheppers has been touch and go and does have his rough patches but he does have the stuff to help this team where they desperately need it.
The rotation could use some help, and they’ll get it with Darvish coming back on Saturday, but with A.J. Griffin hitting the disabled list, and no timetable for his return, the Rangers need to look for starters they can plug in when they’re needed. The question does need to be asked whether or not Colby Lewis can stay healthy and I’m all too happy to admit to being wrong on re-signing the veteran right hander who has been absolutely terrific for this team thus far.
Decisions do need to be made and I think it’s time to make the tough choices as this trade deadline comes up. There are guys who will never become what the Rangers believed they could be so this might be the year to make the moves previously thought impossible.
As I’ve said before, it’s not personal it’s just business.