These are not good times for the Golden Boys of Arlington.
The local Golden Boy baseball fraternity is, of course, very exclusive. Membership is limited to two.
One of those would be Jon Daniels, highly acclaimed Texas Rangers general manager and president of baseball operations.
The other would be Yu Darvish, our favorite pitching import who carries the “ace” tag, yet failed again on Tuesday evening to pitch like one.
As the Rangers frantically attempt this final week of September to backdoor the postseason, there is still possible salvation for the Golden Boys.
Yu could possibly pitch the Rangers into a wild-card spot on Sunday. And then...
The Rangers get on an October roll. And then...
It’s the World Series in Arlington, and there’s a Game 7 vs. the Atlanta Braves at the local yard, and Yu pitches nine shutout innings to hold the scoreless tie. And then ...
Pinch hitter Jurickson Profar (Golden Boy Jr.) hits a bottom-of-the-ninth home run. Rangers, champions of the world.
Sure, man. Anything is possible, including salvation for Jon and Yu.
But from the Dept. of Right Here Right Now, this has been a strange, strange week, particularly for Daniels, although it doesn’t necessarily directly involve Daniels.
There have been stories written by national baseball writers that suggest serious butt coverage is being attempted either by Daniels or someone in the Daniels ballpark camp.
One of those stories was so blatantly explosive I find it difficult to believe Daniels would be that stupid.
But here’s what Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports wrote on Monday:
“Over his last 10 starts, Matt Garza has allowed four or more earned runs seven times. The biggest fears of the Rangers front office that was pressured by ownership to deal for Garza are proving true. He’s nothing close to a frontline starter, and because they can’t get draft-pick compensation for him, they’re going to rue trading starter C.J. Edwards (a Rangers minor leaguer), whom evaluators absolutely love.”
This guy is saying — straight-up, no sources, no speculation, but written as total fact — that ownership forced Daniels to make that Garza trade?
Certainly, Garza has been a disappointment, but at the time of the trade, I was among many applauding the Daniels deal. And still do, even if it hasn’t worked out.
But this writer, Jeff Passan, is laying the Garza blame on ownership, and that puts Daniels in direct conflict with the very people he doesn’t want to be in direct conflict with.
These are the same owners who even backed Daniels over Nolan Ryan a year ago.
Really, I’d doubt if any of these owners would have had any pertinent info on Garza. Some may not have even known who Matt Garza was. I’d wager heavily these owners had never heard of C.J. Edwards.
Daniels issued a strong denial Monday when asked about the story. I don’t blame him. I’d be denying like crazy.
I asked one of the majority owners, Bob Simpson, about the report, and his text reply was rather terse:
“The owners did not pressure anyone for Garza or any baseball player ever.”
Others within the Rangers’ corporate ranks back up Simpson on this.
But Jeff Passan also has baseball credibility. Personally, I think he’s very good. Some of these national writers who cuddle up to Daniels, and vice versa, have limited, if any, credibility in the business.
That’s not Passan, who has also always been a strong print advocate for Daniels. This writer, however, would not just fabricate that piece of information.
Somebody, in a butt coverage attempt for this season of turmoil, said something. Again, the information was written as fact.
I repeat, Daniels is not that stupid, at least I don’t think. But Daniels should be calling roll in his front-office camp, attempting to find out which one of his idiots popped off.
Another story this week, also by a respected national baseball writer, said Daniels in August attempted to deal Garza (right after he acquired him), along with David Murphy and closer Joe Nathan, for Braves outfielder Justin Upton.
Not surprisingly, the Braves said no. So far, there’s been no denial of this information. When Upton was with Arizona, before being dealt to the Braves, the Rangers made a run at him, but the D’backs insisted Profar be part of the return.
At the time, Profar was considered untouchable by Daniels.
There was also in the same Garza trade story a rehash of Nellie Cruz’s decision in August to take the 50-game suspension instead of appealing and continuing to play.
For the umpteen time, yes, Cruz indicated to Rangers management he would appeal. Yes, his final decision was said to have caught Daniels and Co. by surprise. But no, it should NOT have been a surprise. Common sense said Cruz, being a free agent for 2014, would ultimately accept the suspension.
Was this Nellie story more butt coverage for this season? Who is talking these days at the ballpark? You might want to find out, Jon.
Then there’s Yu.
As his No. 1 defender, man, I admit Darvish, even with impressive numbers, has a long, long way to go before ace status can be achieved. The talent is there, but is the... the... the down and dirty gumption? No, not yet anyway. Tuesday’s start was another disappointing example.
But don’t give up on this season, or give up on the Golden Boys, just yet.
Anything is possible.