The Texas Rangers have their preferred lineup and rotation intact and have given themselves the next few weeks to determine the fate of their next few months, specifically whether they will buy or sell before baseball’s trade deadline.
It’s a sound, logical and rational thought process by Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels to give this team a shot. There is no way the Rangers will deny this group the chance to get it together. And if they don’t, they’re still going to give them a chance to get it together.
Michael Young, an assistant to the GM, said this week, “I expect them go out and make a lot of noise in the second half.”
If Young is saying this, it means that management believes it, too. They should. JD and Friends assembled this bunch, and they have no choice but to believe in it.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Star-Telegram
That doesn’t mean we have to or should. Despite the return of Carlos Gomez and Cole Hamels to the team, this club ain’t got it and we know it. The only ones in denial are the GM and his buddies who put this team on the field.
The Rangers fell to 39-40 after their 5-1 loss to the Indians in Cleveland on Wednesday. They are three wins back of the Angels for second place in the American League West.
Rangers’ hitters seem to strike out even on off days, the bullpen is a disaster and the rotation is shaky despite some encouraging numbers.
JD has grown into a confident GM who routinely has been willing to go for it at the deadline. But this is not one those times. This time the wise decision is to recognize the shortcomings on the team, and get what you can for Yu Darvish, Jonathan Lucroy, Gomez, even Adrian Beltre.
With the Houston Astros 58 games ahead in the AL West, the Rangers are left to confuse us that contending for a wild card spot is no different than being a World Series-caliber team.
With so many teams hovering around those two spots, a wild card spot will remain in play until the end of the season.
Who knows? Maybe the Rangers will actually land one of those spots. They’re are but 2 1/2 games out of that spot. Just nine other teams are within three games of the wild card, too.
If JD feels secure in his mind, and in his job, he will realize what he has built is merely a team that can flirt with the wild card and nothing more. He owes it to his bosses, more than the players in the clubhouse, to be honest and deal what he can to improve this team in 2018.
This does not have to be a tear down. You never know when a tear down turns into a Kansas City Royals’ losing streak.
Barring a 14-game losing streak, JD will dig in and sit tight on what will be a team known more for its payroll than its performance.
Mac Engel: @macengelprof