Rangers’ offense won’t be saved by trade deadline

Posted Tuesday, Jul. 30, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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A meeting of the Texas Rangers’ top baseball minds, led by general manager Jon Daniels, convened around lunchtime Tuesday at the executive offices at Rangers Ballpark.

The agenda contained only one item: How to make the second-place team in the American League West better.

Those minds were fully aware that top RBI man Nelson Cruz is going to be suspended soon, as in possibly Wednesday soon, and that Lance Berkman, the off-season savior of the offense, has broken down to the point where he regularly thinks of retiring to the Ponderosa in Houston.

The catch to the meeting, though, was that no help is expected to come from outside of the organization ahead of Wednesday’s non-waiver trade deadline.

Someone might want to call another meeting.

That leaves David Murphy and Mitch Moreland to either cure what ails them or start conditioning their rumps for more bench time.

That leaves Jurickson Profar and Engel Beltre on standby to contribute, essentially, a few singles and an occasional double to an offense that needs run producers.

But not just one bat or even two will suddenly change the Rangers’ plate fortunes or fix the impending misfortunes once Cruz has to pay the penalty for his ties to the Biogenesis of America scandal.

An off-season that saw Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli take their power elsewhere put a significant demand on each remaining hitter to max out his performance. That hasn’t happened.

The annual non-waiver trade deadline, which arrives at 3 p.m. Wednesday, has been deemed barren of impact bats.

Not even Miami, which has a proud history of dealing away star players, can be counted on to unload outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.

The Rangers aren’t enamored by Alex Rios of the Chicago White Sox — rightfully so at his current price tag — and he’s the considered the cream of the available batting crop.

All that Michael Young homecoming talk appears to be just that.

Young told reporters in Philadelphia, where he was exiled by the Rangers in December, that he would accept a trade back to the Metroplex. The Rangers, though, have nothing in the works to bring back their all-time hits leader, and no real spot for him except as a possible replacement for Berkman or a platoon partner with Moreland at first base.

Berkman continues to be bothered by left hip inflammation. He jogged some Tuesday, though with poor results, and his on-field batting practice was relocated to the air-conditioned cages under the stadium.

As honest as he is beat up, Berkman acknowledged that retirement is a legitimate thought. He’s torn by not being able to contribute and by leaving his team dangling.

He has spoken with Daniels about his situation, and the DH and GM are on the same page.

“I’ve let him know what I was feeling and what I was thinking,” Berkman said. “It’s been full disclosure. He knows exactly where I stand, and I know where the team stands.”

Maybe right-hander Matt Garza, a really big deadline acquisition, should get a look. He came from Chicago with a .222 batting average and two RBIs this season.

Moreland singled in the eighth to snap an 0-for-23 skid since going deep on July 23.

Moreland, who wasn’t in the starting lineup Tuesday, isn’t the only hitter struggling. Murphy’s .224 average, up from a .217 average the past 12 games, rates as the seventh-worst among AL qualifiers.

He also didn’t start against former teammate C.J. Wilson, a left-hander, but the prevailing hope is that he and Moreland can break out. The same goes for Elvis Andrus, the owner of a 12-game hitting streak, and A.J. Pierzynski, who is batting less than .230 the past 30 games.

But at least they’ve done something at the big-league level.

Profar and Beltre have no track record, and early August isn’t exactly an ideal time to let them try to develop one while also trying to qualify for the postseason for a fourth straight year.

Barring an 11th-hour price drop in Chicago, or Miami owner Jeffrey Loria finally relenting to his fire-sale demons, Moreland, Murphy, Profar and Beltre will enter deadline day as the keys for a successful stretch run.

Someone might want to call another meeting.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson

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