Mac Engel

Defending Jon Daniels for a terrible trade

Youth carries the day for Rangers in 8-6 win

Joey Gallo and Isiah Kiner-Falefa connected for back-to-back homers in the 12th inning Tuesday as the Texas Rangers overcame a ninth-innkng meltdown to beat the Cleveland Indians.
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Joey Gallo and Isiah Kiner-Falefa connected for back-to-back homers in the 12th inning Tuesday as the Texas Rangers overcame a ninth-innkng meltdown to beat the Cleveland Indians.

Texas Rangers general manager/president Jon Daniels has been accused by someone of pulling a low-down, dirty baseball trick when it's not a trick, and he's more than entitled to do it.

In fact, JD should do this.

Rangers outfield prospect Willie Calhoun, the "gem" of the trade that sent pitcher Yu Darvish to Los Angeles last season, is still in the minor leagues. Not doing very well, either.

Thursday is the day the Rangers can promote him from Triple A Round Rock to the big league club without losing a year of contractual control. For both the ball player, and the ball club, that's a big deal.

Agents hate teams that wait to promote players for this reason, and GMs are aware of acquiring a bad reputation in this department.

The Oakland A's for years made a habit of waiting to promote a player for precisely this reason. The Chicago Cubs, a team not exactly lacking for funds, did the same thing in 2015 to prized outfielder Kris Bryant, much to the disgust of agent Scott Boras.

Nonetheless, JD told the Star-Telegram's Jeff Wilson contractual control is not the reason Calhoun remains in the minors.

"I didn't even know May 3 was the day, and I'm really offended by those statements because they ignore fact," JD told Wilson. "Some idiot wrote an article that was the reason we sent Willie down, and I found that really offensive. Go back and look at our track record."

He's right - the Rangers don't wait on guys. A case can be made they promote guys too early (cough-cough ... Jurickson Profar, Joseph Gallo ... cough-cough).

Despite the fact the Rangers' lineup has been crushed by injuries, there is plenty of reason to keep Calhoun in Triple A, whether it be his contract or his performance. And his defense in the outfield remains a major concern.

In reviewing the players involved in the Darvish deal, not much is going on for the Rangers' trio of prospects they acquired from the Dodgers for the best available pitcher on the market before the 2017 MLB trade deadline.

INF/OF Willie Calhoun (AAA) Round Rock Express (Pacific Coast League)

100 AB, 16 runs, 24 hits, 4 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 10 BB, 19 K, .240 avg., .315 OBP., .685 OPS

He's 23, and he has no position for the Rangers right now.

RHP A.J. Alexy, (A) Hickory Crawdads (South Atlantic League)

0-2, 9.64 ERA, 4 G, 3 GS, 14 IP, 18 H, 15 ER, 2 HR, 12 BB, 13 K, 2.14 WHIP

Rangers scouts like this young man's arm, and the Rangers like the 13 strikeouts in 14 innings. Everything else is not good. He's only 20.

INF Brendon Davis (Class A Advanced) Down East Wood Ducks (Carolina League)

34 at bats, 3 runs, 8 hits, 1 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 4 HR, 4 BB, 10 K, .235 AVG, .316 OBP, .639 OPS

The former fifth-round draft pick is only 20.

What of Darvish? He pitched well for the Dodgers, until Game 7 of the World Series exposed his fatal flaw. The Dodgers passed on signing the free agent, and he agreed to a six-year, $126 million contract with the Cubs; that deal will eventually be one of the worst additions GM Theo Epstein has made in his curse-busting career, which includes both Chicago and Boston.

So far in Chicago, Darvish is 0-2 with a 5.26 ERA in 5 starts. He has allowed 24 hits in 25 2/3 innings. He will improve, but not enough to warrant six years and $126 million.

None of the players involved in the Rangers' biggest trade of 2017 are doing much in 2018, and keeping Calhoun in the minors makes perfect sense both from a production, and contractual, standpoint.

Joey Gallo and Isiah Kiner-Falefa connected for back-to-back homers in the 12th inning Tuesday as the Texas Rangers overcame a ninth-innkng meltdown to beat the Cleveland Indians.

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