General manager Jon Daniels said that the Texas Rangers are currently an in-between team, not a sure-fire contender but not a full-blown dumpster fire.
That’s no place for a team to be at the trade deadline, especially with 25 percent of the roster playing in the final years of their contracts.
Especially when one of them is one of the top pitchers in the major leagues.
Real contenders are going to call. Business is going to become the priority.
In the end, it wasn’t personal. It was business.
The Rangers sent Yu Darvish, the four-time All-Star and their staff ace, to the Los Angeles Dodgers for three prospects, one of whom has greater value than what the Rangers would have received as draft-pick compensation had they held Darvish and failed to re-sign him.
“To capitalize on the time of year and the marketplace to add some young, talented players that our scouts identified and liked,” Daniels said. “You don’t get those opportunities a lot.
“It was a little bit challenging of a call for us to make. Ultimately, we felt that the package that we got, these three players, clearly was over the line for us. So, we decided to make the deal.”
The Rangers did so while uncertain about how competitive they will be in attempting to sign Darvish in the off-season. Officials have expressed a desire to be bring him back.
Unless the Dodgers extend Darvish’s contract before he hits free agency, the Rangers will have the opportunity to negotiate a contract with him, and he’ll have the option to listen. Maybe while still in the wake of the trade was too soon for them to contemplate the future, but Darvish might be gone for good.
It won’t be personal. It’ll be business.
“It’s hard to comment on any of that right now,” Darvish said. “I’m just going to have to wait and see until we get to the off-season. Just for example, like, if the Rangers did offer me like very low money, I’m not going to sign. I think I’m going to talk to all the teams available willing to talk to me and see what happens.”
Darvish will hit the open market as the one of the top free agents. He turns 31 on Aug. 16, but is still likely to receive at least a five-year offer that will exceed $100 million. Owner Ray Davis, answering a question during spring training about Darvish’s future, said that he is willing to go to market value for the right player.
The Rangers committed $111.7 million into Darvish in 2012 — a $51.7 million posting fee for the right to negotiate with him and another $60 million over six years to lure him away from the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.
Daniels said that the club hasn’t seriously contemplated its off-season plans yet.
“We’ll see,” Daniels said. “Sitting here in July, I’m not ready to spell out our off-season plan. We have some meetings to take place, sit down with ownership and kind of map out our plan this winter. We’ve got a long-term plan. Things change. We very well could. Certainly, he checks a lot of boxes for us.”
The trade wasn’t announced until well after the 3 p.m. deadline. At 3 p.m., Darvish’s wife sent a tweet of confetti flying. It was some 10 minutes later when a source said that Darvish had been dealt.
The Rangers received three prospects for Darvish — Triple A second baseman Willie Calhoun, Low A right-hander A.J. Alexy and Low A infielder Brendon Davis. Calhoun, 22, is the big piece, a second baseman who is known for his bat and will have to play outfield regularly.
He posted a .298 average with 24 doubles, five triples, 23 home runs and 67 RBIs in 99 games at Triple A Oklahoma City. That’s a lot of power for a player who is 5-foot-8.
“He can really hit,” Daniels said. “Some guys just have a knack of bat-to-ball skills. Big power for not a huge guy. Kind of a throw-back hitter. No batting gloves. He can really swing the bat.”
While the Darvish trade — in addition to the Monday trade of reliever Jeremy Jeffress to Milwaukee for Double A reliever Tayler Scott and the Sunday trade of catcher Jonathan Lucroy to Colorado for a player to be named — might give the appearance of the Rangers waving the white flag on the season, third baseman Adrian Beltre disagreed.
The Rangers entered Monday 5 1/2 games out of the second wild-card spot.
“In the clubhouse we didn’t want it to happen, because we still believe in this team,” said Beltre, who collected his 3,000th career hit Sunday. “We know we have the pieces to compete and hopefully grab a spot in the wild card. At the same time, Yu was probably the best pitcher we had for five years. Him and Cole have been our aces. Disappointed in the trade. But we still believe in the team we have right here.”
Darvish went only 6-9 with a 4.01 ERA in 22 starts this season, and the Rangers lost 10 of his past 12 outings. He finished his Rangers career with a 52-39 record, a 3.42 ERA and 960 strikeouts.
Darvish was the Rangers’ lone All-Star this season, but was rocked for 10 runs in his final start in Arlington. He discovered a few days later that he had been tipping his pitches to Miami Marlins hitters.
And, now, he’s gone. He might be gone for good.
As it was Monday, it won’t be personal. It’ll be business.
Rangers vs. Mariners
7:05 p.m. Tuesday, FSSW