Emerging from all the injuries and the inability to consistently play winning baseball has been a notion that the Texas Rangers will be selling heavily at the trade deadline next month.
Not everyone is saying there should be an Arlington fire sale. But the chatter has been loud enough for the general manager to hear it.
Forget about picking up the option on right fielder Alex Rios, who at various times the past few weeks has been leading the league in hitting. Dump closer Joakim Soria, a candidate for the All-Star team, and the reasonable option attached to him for 2015.
Find a taker for third baseman Adrian Beltre. And shortstop Elvis Andrus and second baseman Jurickson Profar, because, obviously, Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas are the future. And please find some fool to take that Prince Fielder contract.
There’s one fairly significant problem facing the blow-it-up camp: The Rangers expect to contend in 2015 with the pieces that were assembled to win this year before the injuries hit.
“If we didn’t feel we could be good next year, we might look at it a little differently,” general manager Jon Daniels said.
“We’re not giving up on this year,” Daniels added.
Daniels made the trip to O.co Coliseum for the Rangers’ three-game series against division-leading Oakland, and his presence made some, who don’t realize that he travels regularly, believe that a big shakeup is in the works.
Daniels, though, is realistic. The A’s were firmly in control of the AL West ahead of the series opener late Monday. There is more writing on the wall that the Rangers won’t be a serious contender for a wild-card berth, even though the second spot will be tantalizingly close.
But the decision Daniels and his staff will have to make is whether it makes sense to add a piece or two to reward the players who are holding things together and the manager who has been among the best in the game.
Not whether to trade every remaining healthy body and start getting prospects ready for next year, though the terrific Odor needs to play as much as humanly possible.
“Obviously, we’ve been challenged with the injuries and just some of the things you guys have seen,” Daniels said. “There’s a few clubs that look like they have separated themselves in both leagues. After that, it’s wide open.
“We’re going to have to play well. That’s obvious. But anyone is going to have to play well to get in.”
The optimism that remains is in the form of players, namely Derek Holland and Geovany Soto, who should return before the season is out and from the fact that the Rangers haven’t been hit with any injuries for a whole week now.
That’s not insignificant. The roster has had some continuity, which has allowed players to settle into roles and given Washington a chance to find a lineup that might actually become consistent.
Daniels didn’t rule out making a move to bolster the roster or trading off a piece or two if things trend the wrong way. For now, though, the plan is to let the current players keep playing and see what kind of impact is made by those who could be back next month.
“We’ve got time,” Daniels said.
That one could go either way, and does. But it doesn’t go so far as the fire sale that some have said is coming once Daniels decides that the Rangers aren’t a postseason contender.
There are still those, mainly in the Rangers’ clubhouse, who believe they are a contender. All in the organization believe that the players who have been lost this year, with the possible excepts of Martin Perez and Matt Harrison, will come back healthy next year and make the Rangers contenders.
There might be some subtractions at the July 31 trade deadline, but, if things start falling into place, there might be some additions.
But put away those matches. There won’t be an Arlington fire sale this season.
“Not everybody is going to be back by Opening Day,” Daniels said. “But with the exception of those guys, the expectation is for everyone to be back and ready.
“We’re fortunate that we’re not in the spot that anything would be payroll-driven. Any moves we make would be baseball decisions.
“We don’t have many free agents on the club. Most of the group is under contract or we have options for next year. That will play into any decision we have to make.”