This is the sad, ugly side of the business. When a player no longer has what it takes, for whatever reason, his services are no longer needed and he’s gone in an instant.
That’s what happened to reliever Sam Dyson, who was designated for assignment after losing his sixth game Wednesday night.
“That’s never fun. That’s not how you want the relationship to go,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “Sam was such a huge part of what we did in 2015, what we did in 2016. You still care for the individual. There are no independent contractors on this team. It’s never easy.”
Dyson was informed after Wednesday’s game in which he allowed two homers in the 10th inning. It was an emotional scene, according to his teammates and general manager Jon Daniels. Shin-Soo Choo said tears were shed by both Dyson and his teammates while saying goodbye.
“This is the hardest part of baseball right here because players are replaceable and people aren’t,” reliever Tony Barnette said. “Sam is a great guy and we’re going to miss him but we’ve got to move on. We have a job to do today and that’s to win a baseball game.”
Barnette, along with fellow reliever Jeremy Jeffress, both of whom have also struggled at times, said Dyson’s departure doesn’t enhance the pressure to perform better.
“I don’t think this puts us on notice, I think we know things have to get better. That’s evident,” Barnette said.
Jeffress said the bullpen’s overall struggles the first two months of the season are disappointing because they expected to be one of the team’s strengths.
“We all know the pressure that we have,” said Jeffress, who has no minor league options left, just like Dyson. “That comes with the job. That’s [how you feel] when you break camp. If I don’t perform, I know where I’m going. The end result, if it’s not there, you’re going to be out of here. We’re all grown men, we can all take what they give us. You just have to perform, that’s just the bottom line.”
Banister and Dyson’s teammates all predicted the pitcher would figure it out and find success with another team.
“He just couldn’t put it together quick enough,” Jeffress said. “He’s going to work hard and I’m pretty sure someone is going to see what he’s done and what he has.”
Said Banister: “I do believe there is really good baseball ahead for Sam Dyson. I believe this is a guy with a 95-97 mph bowling ball sinker. Consistency was his biggest challenge.”
The cold nature of the decision, Banister said, comes with the territory. The Rangers think they have a team capable of making the postseason in 2017 without Dyson. Jose Leclerc’s return from the disabled list required a move and Dyson’s last outing made the situation untenable.
“We are in the business of winning baseball games and you’ve got to find a way to win baseball games. There are decisions that are made by multiple people organizationally to move in a different direction,” Banister said. “It can be unfortunate but it’s part of the process. I think we got to a point that we needed to make a decision, having Jose Leclerc coming back, and trying to put the 25 on the field that will give us an opportunity to win baseball games right now.”