Another winter meetings has passed with the Texas Rangers mostly standing on the sidelines, as free agents were signed and as teams rebuilt their roster through significant trades.
General manager Jon Daniels, though, was calm Thursday in the face of a transactions wire that was smoldering a day and morning after players such as outfielders Matt Kemp and Yoenis Cespedes, shortstop Jimmy Rollins, catcher Yasmani Grandal, and pitchers Brandon McCarthy, Wade Miley, Alfredo Simon and Rick Porcello all landed on new teams.
Maybe he knew that an agreement for Washington left-hander Ross Detwiler, who will be given a chance at the rotation, was imminent.
That acquisition, for a minor-league reliever and infielder, still rates as a minor blip in the bevy of deals, many involving division rivals, this week at the Manchester Grand Hyatt.
The Rangers? They made a waiver claim on Scott Barnes, a left-handed reliever with 27 2/3 career big-league innings, and selected Delino DeShields Jr. in the Rule 5 draft as a possible backup to Leonys Martin in center field.
There are no fires to put out, however, even with Detwiler, who can be a free agent next year, in the rotation mix.
But Daniels and the rest of the Rangers’ contingent headed home without elevated pulse rates about the outlook of their 2015 club, primarily because most of the players trading places weren’t on the Rangers’ target list.
Some were, Daniels said, but enough still remain for the Rangers to complement their roster. That’s their expectation, even though the Rangers fell short of the hyped-up expectations this week.
“The majority of the guys who have gone off the board we were not involved with,” Daniels said. “We weren’t engaged at that level. We all along expected them to sign elsewhere.
“We just have our sights set on a different group of players. We’ve had chances. There have been a couple guys we could have gotten. We just didn’t like the fit, like the asking price or how it affected us.”
The earliest the Detwiler deal will be made official is Friday. Medical reports still must be exchanged, and the Rangers have yet to inform the prospects who are being dealt.
Detwiler has a 4.02 ERA in 69 career starts, but hasn’t made a start since 2013 after being pushed out of a crowded Nationals rotation. But he wants to be a starter, and the Rangers will give him that chance.
The daily media briefing with Daniels made no mention of Detwiler, but covered a variety of scenarios, some of them of the doomsday variety if all else fails.
Could the Rangers devote all their resources to one player?
Would they go heavy on offense and commit to their young pitchers if the last of the available pitching options slip away?
Would they be willing to go with what they have in the system and wait to make additions until July 31 when it could be too late to save the season?
Daniels didn’t bite. He acknowledged that all are possibilities, just nothing that he and his group have reached the point of having to contemplate.
“We make evaluations and moves as you go,” Daniels said. “The guys that would have triggered some of these other deals in our opinion are ultimately going to be better than some of the guys we would have gotten. That’s just where we are. We felt like patience was pretty important this time around.”
The Rangers’ work at these meetings seemed to move them away from one-year fits, such as Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Johnny Cueto or Justin Upton, because the asking price in terms of prospects is too steep.
Other pitchers or hitters who either were available before heading elsewhere or who are still available might not be enough of an upgrade over Nick Tepesch, Nick Martinez, Alex Gonzalez or Ryan Rua for a deal to make sense.
With no money apparently coming from Forbes 400 member Ray Davis, who’s worth $2.8 billion, and Bob Simpson, who once spent $1 million on a rare penny, the Rangers remain out on James Shields and didn’t have the financial clout to make a deal for Kemp, Cespedes, Jeff Samardzija, Francisco Liriano or Ervin Santana, among others.
The good news for the Rangers is it’s a long off-season and plenty of time remains before spring training for players to be added. The bad news for those who want new players now is that it’s a long off-season and plenty of time remains before spring training for players to be added.
More moves are coming, Daniels said. They just didn’t come this week and might not come for a few more.
“We’re looking to add good players around our core,” Daniels said. “We’ve done that in a couple small areas, certainly not sexy moves but good baseball moves. That’s still our mindset.”
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760