Jake Diekman said Monday afternoon to talk to him in 21 hours, the time that was remaining until the nonwaiver trade deadline when the Texas Rangers’ clubhouse was open to the media.
He would be in a much better mood then, either way.
Keone Kela spent a good deal of the time on the phone, as the barrage of calls and the uncertainty he spoke of Sunday afternoon continued.
At one point, Adrian Beltre literally danced away from the media, presumably in rhythm with the music pumping in ear pods. Did anyone really think that Beltre couldn’t dance?
Eventually, he acknowledged that his situation is unchanged. The Rangers haven’t found a deal to present to him, but they have been looking.
Those are the three Rangers players who continue to find their names bouncing most in the trade-deadline hopper.
Beltre to the Atlanta Braves. Beltre to the Boston Red Sox.
Kela is among the best relievers known to be available. Diekman could go anywhere, including as a possible addition to a Kela trade.
What was said Monday afternoon would likely change by Monday night as the Rangers took on the Arizona Diamondbacks to open a quick two-game interleague series. There’s no telling where things will be at 3 p.m. CDT when the annual deadline arrives.
And there isn’t a player, coach or beat writer who can’t wait until it’s all over.
“For those teams that are in the buying market, which we’ve been in before, there is that excitement of, ‘Can you make your team better?’” manager Jeff Banister said. “On the flip side of that, we’re in a position where we’re trying to acquire more talent for the organization. It’s a different feel.
“Getting to the deadline hour, I’m sure however it works out, there’ll be some guys out in that clubhouse that can exhale a little bit and really get back to concentrating on baseball.”
Rangers executives, led by general manager Jon Daniels, were hunkered down at the team hotel a few miles from Chase Field and appeared to be at a stalemate. Insert “game of chicken” or “waiting for someone to blink” here.
Daniels has said that the Rangers don’t feel obligated to trade any of their players, while also saying that they must listen to all offers because they are stepping into a rebuilding phase.
Insert “something’s got to give,” as it did just before the 2017 deadline when the Rangers pulled an 11th-hour deal for Yu Darvish.
A source said that no contender has been willing to meet the Rangers’ high asking price for Kela, the team’s closer who is under club contractual control through 2020. That makes him as attractive to a contender as his stuff, and there is significant interest in him.
The Rangers have discussed trading Beltre with the Braves, Red Sox and Cleveland Indians, but the same source said that little progress was made. Beltre has full no-trade rights, and to waive them, he wants to be a contributor on a team that is a postseason lock.
That nixes the Braves, who opened Monday 1 1/2 games out in the National League East and the second NL wild-card spot. Another source said that the Braves aren’t inclined to surrender their pitching prospects and are more likely to make low-cost moves like their acquisition of reliever Brad Brach from the Baltimore Orioles.
While Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers is on the 10-day disabled list, it isn’t believed to be a long-term injury. The Indians need outfielders and could move second baseman Jason Kipnis there and All-Star third baseman Jose Ramirez to second to accommodate Beltre.
“Any ballclub that’s in a playoff hunt would definitely want this guy on their team,” Banister said. “He’s still playing at a high rate. My gut tells me if there’s a team out there that wants a guy like this and is willing to make a trade for him, we’re definitely willing to listen to it.”
The Rangers believe Beltre can be of value during the rebuild, nurturing young players, and they’re confident he would re-sign with them in the off-season if traded away. They don’t need to trade Kela at the deadline and could wait until the off-season when the pool of interested teams would be larger.
Diekman, though, might not be asked back next season, and the Rangers are inclined to get something for him rather than seeing him walk after the season.
He knows that things are out of his control, and he finds the deadline hype maddening. He was stewing at his locker Monday afternoon and watching the clock as it counted down to Tuesday’s deadline.
The wait can’t end soon enough.