Jon Daniels pleased with Texas Rangers’ July trades
The end of the nonwaiver trading period Tuesday afternoon allowed the Texas Rangers to shift their focus back to baseball some six hours later.
They had won four straight games and had 25 players on their roster. A game against the Arizona Diamondbacks would be played, and by gosh it was.
The unknown of who would be traded and who would stay became known. The tension in the clubhouse the past week had abated.
But Tuesday still wasn’t about the on-field proceedings at Chase Field.
The Rangers have dived head-first into their rebuild. They traded away one player Tuesday, three others in July, and added 11 newcomers to the organization.
The new guys aren’t going to make the Rangers contenders this season and probably not next. Even 2020, the first year of Globe Life Field, might be a stretch.
So, when? When will the Rangers’ rebuild plan get them back to the postseason?
“I don’t want to put a year on it, because I can’t sit here and say 100 percent,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “I think the more work we put into developing young talent in the system, the faster it will come.
“In the previous generation, we were probably in contention a year ahead of what we thought we were going to be. We were in the mix and were a .500 club in ‘08, a year after tearing some things down and trading some guys. Year after, we were in the mix in ‘09 till the end, and obviously won the division in ‘10. We were ahead of schedule.
“So, I don’t know. We’re going to put in a lot of work to getting it up and competitive and playing a style of baseball our fans will appreciate and be proud of, as quickly as possible.”
The Rangers made only one deal Tuesday, sending left-hander Jake Diekman to the Diamondbacks for Double A pitcher Wei-Chieh Huang and a player to be named. Multiple teams called about Adrian Beltre, but the third baseman with full no-trade rights was not dealt.
The Diekman deal came on top of four others, with the two biggest deals involving lefty starter Cole Hamels on Friday and closer Keone Kela late Monday. The collective return was nine prospects and MLB relievers Cory Gearrin and Eddie Butler.
The Rangers’ farm system is better off than it was a month ago.
“I think it was both quality and quantity,” Daniels said. “There were a few guys that were real target guys for us. Some guys with really good arms, some guys with really good secondary, some guys that really profile as starters. Kind of a real good mix there, and it really spread throughout the system.
“So, I think it spread pretty good. Obviously, we’re in better position today, long-term, than we were yesterday, and that was the goal.”
The prize of the haul appears to be pitcher Taylor Hearn, who came back from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Kela. Hearn, from Royse City, is a powerful lefty starter who Daniels said hits 98 mph with his fastball and has three pitches he can throw for strikes.
Hearn and Huang will be assigned to Double A Frisco and are the most advanced of the prospect group the Rangers acquired. That could change in August as the Rangers select a player to be named from three of the trades.
“We prefer to be on the other side of these deals, but all in all, given what our goals were and the circumstances, really happy with it,” Daniels said. “Our people did a ton of work, identified some players that we feel fit for us on a variety of levels. I think all in all, we’re looking at nine prospects. I think when all is said and done, probably six to eight of those prospects will be pitchers.”
The Rangers can still trade players through the end of August, but they must first pass through revocable waivers to be available to all teams. If a player is claimed, the teams have 48 hours to work a deal.
Beltre could be an August trade, though he and Daniels have discussed the parameters of what it would take for Beltre to waive his 10-and-5 no-trade rights. It’s a very limited pool of teams, and they all have third basemen.
“Over the last couple weeks, there’s been a lot of thinking, a lot of expectation, a lot of wait-and-see,” Beltre said. “Today, it was a busy morning for me, but I relieved to be know where I’m going to be for the next who knows.”
Diekman was an obvious trade candidate, with free agency beckoning after the season, and he was informed about 45 minutes before the deadline that he had been traded. Kela learned in the seventh inning Monday that he was going. Hamels learned Thursday night that he was off to the Chicago Cubs, who had already acquired Jesse Chavez from the Rangers.
If anyone didn’t know or weren’t convinced that the Rangers are committed to a rebuild, they learned it in July.
“We’ve got a lot to do,” Daniels said. “There’s a lot in the system that we can do, just from an organizational structure standpoint. Taking a look at how do we get better. What programs do we have in place to help our players get better? What programs do we need to put in place to do the same?
“There’s going to be a lot of focus on everybody. All hands on deck. How do we get the talent on this organization to reach their potential and help us win?”
The biggest question — when? — can’t be answered.