ARLINGTON — Texas Rangers GM Jon Daniels cut off my transparent attempt to butter him up about the obvious awkward question when he asked, “Is this the preamble to the Chris Davis question?”Oh? Cough-cough. What? Chris Who?Since we are fast approaching baseball’s trade deadline, the Rangers need pitching and Chris Davis is now the second coming of Babe Ruth, sure. How does it feel to watch your former first baseman embarrass big-league pitchers?“I’m not flippant about it. Bottom line is I’d love to have him back. Nobody saw this coming,” Daniels said. “I knew he had a big upside and big abilities. It’s easy to evaluate him on the results and anybody can look back at the results and see it. But there is a process that got you there.”(BTW — no one in the Rangers organization believes signing Manny Ramirez to that Triple A contract Wednesday is a replacement for anyone; it’s just a flier on a guy who is totally finished but doesn’t have a clue what to do with his life.)The trading of Chris Davis is not the one that bothers Daniels so much because the thought process made sense. It’s the trade of another first baseman that Daniels chalks up as his most regrettable: the 2006 deal that sent Adrian Gonzalez to the San Diego Padres. “We weren’t good enough to be trading a prospect for a starting pitcher with one year left on his contract in Adam Eaton and a relief pitcher,” Daniels said, calling the thought process and the decision-making process flawed. “We were going for it and we weren’t good enough.”This is why you have to trust Daniels and his baseball buddies to make the right deal, which, make no mistake, is coming. Make enough trades and eventually Chris Davis is going to happen.Daniels’ thought process on dealing is prudent, which is why we should trust his ability to make the best deal for a team that is certainly good enough to “go for it.” The man has far more hits on his résumé than misses.Just accept that when you “go for it” Chris Davis can happen.“That deal was, ‘Hey, we’re ready to win,” Daniels said. “We just went to the World Series. We needed to fix our bullpen and [reliever] Koji Uehara [the main component in the Davis deal to Baltimore in the summer of 2011] was really good for us during the regular season. Had we won Game 6 [of the World Series] we wouldn’t be talking about it. But we didn’t and now Davis is challenging Roger Maris’ records and so you look at it all a little differently.”It’s 2013, and the Rangers are right around first place in July and in need of pitching. Both starters and relievers. There is obvious concern in Daniels’ voice about this area.Daniels is not necessarily counting on the immediate returns of injured starters Colby Lewis, Alexi Ogando or Matt Harrison, all of whom are working their way back from a variety of ailments. If Daniels had to go with one, it’s Ogando, simply because he said he is the closest.Daniels is hopeful but not banking on these guys.As for the bullpen — which has been exceptional — even Daniels knows the team is reaching a point where it can’t ask it to keep this up.“We have six guys with a collective ERA in the mid 1’s — is that sustainable? It’s possible for a year,” he said. “But it’s hard when the rotation puts a lot of innings at the foot of the bullpen. I do definitely have some concern about that.”Add it all up — a good team hovering around first place with pitching needs and prospects to trade — Daniels will be doing something by the end of this month when the trade deadline draws near.A Ranger of note is going to be traded, whether it’s Jurickson Profar, Mike Olt, etc. Someone good is going because the Rangers remain in 2011 mode — they’re good enough to go for it.Daniels has learned enough to know better than to deal an Adrian Gonzalez when the team is bad.He also knows that when you’re this good and this close and need help, a Chris Davis can happen.Daniels has certainly earned the benefit of the doubt to think he won’t get Chris Davis’d again.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @macengelprof