Scoring runs has been a trying task much of the season for the Texas Rangers, a team historically built on plate prowess, and things won’t be getting any easier if Nelson Cruz is handed a suspension and Lance Berkman retires.
General manager Jon Daniels and his staff weren’t blind to the difficulties the offense is experiencing as they entered the annual sweepstakes ahead of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline nor blind to the difficulties the club is likely to encounter in the very near future.
Effort and desire to add an impact bat weren’t lacking, but the hitters who were available were. As such, the deadline arrived Wednesday without the Rangers finding a deal.
Daniels said he will keep looking for help, but for now — and most likely the rest of the season — the hitters on the roster will have to fix the problems themselves, and the pitchers will have to cover up the offense’s blemishes.
“We’re not going to score 15 runs a game, but we’re going to be in every game,” Daniels said. “I like the composition of this club. We’re going to have to win in a different way than we’ve won in the past. But if we can pitch and scratch our way to four runs a game, I like our chances.”
The Rangers will continue to seek trades through the end of August, though players must clear waivers before they can be traded. The Rangers did such trades in 2009 (Ivan Rodriguez), 2010 (Jeff Francoeur) and 2011 (Michael Gonzalez).
“But I’m not going to hold my breath,” Daniels said.
So players like Mitch Moreland and David Murphy will have to realize some of their potential. Young players Jurickson Profar and Engel Beltre have to produce when they are given the chance.
Rangers players weren’t too shaken up after the deadline passed without any new additions to the lineup. Daniels did make a trade for Matt Garza, who was the best player available in July.
“We got Matt Garza,” second baseman Ian Kinsler said. “We have the pieces in here to win games. He made us one of the best pitching staffs in the game, and that’s always a boost.”
The Rangers, though, could take a hit any day now if Cruz is suspended in the Biogenesis of America case. Daniels said that there was motivation to find a bat that could help pick up some of the slack the Rangers will lose without Cruz, their leader in homers and RBIs, but the right deal couldn’t be found.
Cruz was in the lineup Wednesday after leaving Tuesday’s game with a bruised left quadriceps muscle.
“We explored some deals like that,” Daniels said. “It just didn’t come to a head. It’s wasn’t for a lack of interest or a lack of effort. It was more likely a lack of supply and a lack of ability.”
Even without Cruz, the Rangers believe they are a playoff team. They found some life with consecutive walk-off wins Monday and Tuesday and hope that the offense can be more consistent over the final two months of the season.
Help didn’t arrive Wednesday ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline, and it looks dubious that any will come at all.
“We have plenty of pitching, starting and relieving, to make sure that if we score a few runs, they can do the rest,” shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “We need to focus on the hitters that we have instead of trying to get another hitter. We’re doing a good job right now, and if we continue to do that, we’ll be in good shape.”