Ever since the off-season started, the general assumption has been that the Texas Rangers and San Diego Padres were a perfect match because of the relationship of their general managers.
Jon Daniels runs the Rangers. His bestie, A.J. Preller, now runs the Padres. The looking-to-rebound Rangers need pitching, and the small-market non-competitive perceived-to-be-rebuilding Padres have pitching to deal away.
Let the trading begin. But as of now, early on the second day of the winter meetings, the Rangers and Padres aren’t headed down any trade roads together.
Preller has temporarily put the brakes on any Padres rebuild mode, which has left the Rangers to explore trade avenues with other teams. The Padres believe they have a small window to win with the quality pitchers everyone seems to want … if they can acquire two bats.
That’s where their pursuits of Yasmany Tomas and Pablo Sandoval start to make sense. That’s why their pursuit of Matt Kemp makes sense. San Diego missed on Tomas and Sandoval, but until they miss on Kemp and maybe Justin Upton or another of the difference-making bats available, their young pitchers aren’t going anywhere.
That leaves the Rangers looking toward the New York Mets, where they’ve been looking all along, and the Miami Marlins and at pitchers who become free agents next off-season. Cincinnati righties Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos fit that mold, and both are on the Rangers’ board.
The Rangers also are looking more closely at free-agent pitchers, though whether they have offered right-hander Justin Masterson or just discussed what they might be comfortable doing is a matter of semantics.
The Rangers met with the representatives of righty Gavin Floyd, who pieced together nine nice starts for Atlanta last year before suffering a fractured elbow. Floyd fits the mold of a veteran on the rebound who could be had at a reasonable price.
If the Padres continue to miss on the bats, then they could decided to rebuild. That’s when Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner and Ian Kennedy would become available, but the Padres will want multiple top-tier prospects.
Preller and another trusty former Rangers aide now with the Padres, Don Welke, know exactly which Rangers prospects they would want — think Alex Gonzalez and Nomar Mazara — and also know that Daniels might be reluctant to deal too many of them away.
That could ultimately lead to an impasse between Daniels and Preller. Any serious talks between the Rangers and Padres are, for now, on hold anyway.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760