Texas Rangers caught looking as MLB trade deadline passes
After back-to-back walk-off home run wins against the Angels, it appears the Texas Rangers’ bag of tricks has run out. The trade deadline has come and gone, and the Rangers failed (or just refused) to add an outfielder or big bat to the lineup.
No homecoming for Michael Young, no Hunter Pence or Giancarlo Stanton to replace the power or position of Nelson Cruz, who is all but assured to be suspended by the end of the week for his role in the Biogenesis case.
The Rangers were supposed to do something on the deadline to fill in the offensive void that Cruz’s 24 home runs and 72 RBIs will leave. Baseball insiders had said that everyone on the team, including recently acquired Matt Garza, were available for a negotiation.
The Rangers were supposed to do something on the deadline to fill in the offensive void that Cruz will leave.
Instead the Rangers, and most of the MLB, decided to stand pat heading into the final stretch of the playoff hunt with 55 games to go.
The Rangers’ offense blew up for 14 runs against the Angels on July 30 to cap a manic comeback for the second night in a row. But without Cruz in the heart of the lineup, the team’s power falls to corner infielders Adrian Beltre and Mitch Moreland.
Rumors swirled on Twitter as the deadline neared that the Rangers were positioned to trade for Miami outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, but that proved to be a case of wishful thinking. Ditto for San Francisco outfielder Hunter Pence, who was the early favorite to take over for Cruz.
And for all of Philadelphia’s bluster at trading Young to the Rangers, Yankees or Red Sox, nothing came to fruition.
The deadline passed with barely a whisper. It’s not a great position for the Rangers at the moment as they try to catch Oakland from five games back. It’s hardly an insurmountable deficit, as the A’s showed last year when they covered that ground over the course of the last nine games of the season.
The Rangers could’ve traded for a big bat, but as the lack of overall action among the league showed, there weren’t really any to be had — at least not for the right price. Although the Rangers need a bat desperately, it wouldn’t be worth overpaying for a three-month rental by trading the future.
The Rangers have shown that when the price is right they’re willing to go after big targets like Adrian Beltre or Yu Darvish in free agency or Cliff Lee via trade, but they’re equally willing to let Josh Hamilton and C.J. Wilson walk when they can’t find a common number.
The Rangers are still going to be a competitive squad with or without Cruz in the same way they were when Hamilton left for a baseball town, or when seemingly half the team is injured.
I’m trying have faith that this is why the Rangers have the same team today as they did yesterday. It’s frustrating for a fan to see his squad sit tight when the ship hits an iceberg, but the last thing that needs to happen now is to pull off the berg and let all the water seep in.
Besides, all hope for salvation is not lost. As more teams begin to fall out of the playoff hunt, waiver trades will offer up a host of possible solutions before the August 31 deadline. By then, general managers of losing squads will want to get something — anything — for their wares.
In fact, should Cruz appeal his impending 50-game suspension (which he will lose because Selig is not going to let anyone from Biogenesis get away), the delay in suspension could have made for an awkward situation in which Stanton or Pence had to coexist with Cruz for several weeks.
Of course, that’s a lot of ifs and buts, and we’re only halfway to Christmas.
It’s too early to lament a ruined season, but it certainly doesn’t get easier from here. Part of that is the Rangers’ doing, but it’s also hard to buy when nobody is selling. Maybe the team can win every night with a walk-off home run.