Guzman: ‘It felt better when it hit the pole’
Jon Daniels has been Texas Rangers general manager long enough to know that the beat writers need to speak with him each season at the start of the second half, which is only a few weeks away from the July 31 trade deadline.
So, he made himself available Friday afternoon at Globe Life Park to answer the burning questions, the first of which was how he would approach the deadline.
The Rangers might be buyers.
They might be sellers.
They might be neither.
“We’ll just evaluate what our opportunities are and see what makes sense,” Daniels said. “We don’t feel like there’s anything we have to do one way or the other. Sometimes it’s clear cut. It’s really doing to be based on what the opportunities are out there and just go from there. Each opportunity we’ll take on an individual basis.”
The Rangers got a 9-8 walk-off win Friday night, their third straight and second in a row against the American League West-leading Houston Astros. Jesse Chavez started for the Rangers, who had entered the day 2 1/2 games out of the second wild card spot.
Daniels said that the Rangers have been speaking with other clubs for a few weeks. The expectation before the season was that the Rangers would be sellers and dangling any trade-worthy piece they have on their roster as they did last season.
That has definitely changed with the Rangers entering Friday at 49-42, but does Daniels consider them contenders.
He said yes, after a long pause that he said was the result of him attempting to find the right way to explain their precarious position ahead of the only trade deadline this season.
As such, Daniels would not commit to not trading All-Star left-hander Mike Minor.
“What’s the best way to put it? Probably not, just generally speaking,” Daniels said. “Same thing as this off-season, we got asked about trading Mike. It probably didn’t make sense, and, obviously, we didn’t. He’s taken another step forward, as has the team.
“I like our team a lot better with Mike on it, but we’re not going to rule anything out.”
Beyond Minor, Lance Lynn has also been rumored as a potential trade piece, and veteran reliever Shawn Kelley could upgrade many bullpens.
If the Rangers decide to add externally, they will seek pitching depth first. That could be a starter or a reliever.
“When our best guys are out there we can compete with anybody,” Daniels said. “When they’re not we’ve been at a disadvantage at times, and I don’t know that we have immediate reinforcements right now.”
He is open to acquiring a rental piece, just not a Cliff Lee all-in rental.
The next two weeks will have some impact on what the Rangers ultimately do, but it won’t dictate things entirely.
If the players are owed anything, it’s Daniels making the right decision.
“Our interests aren’t always going to align,” he said. “But for the most part they do.”
The elimination of the August waiver period adds a new dynamic to this year’s deadline, and there could be a number of smaller deals completed baseball-wide.
There might be deals between teams that neither help nor harm their postseason chances.
“There are certain moves we may be interested in that don’t fit the classic definition of buy or sell,” Daniels said. “We’re going to look at each situation differently. It depends on circumstances, and what the other clubs are looking to do and how it does it affect our club this year and how does it affect our club going forward.”