Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Texas Rangers: Do NOT Trade Justin Smoak!

Think big. Don't be traumatized by decades of futility. Don't be in shock. Don't be mindlessly unstrategic. Don't be gutless. Instead: be shrewd. Think BIG.

My goal is for the Rangers to win 4 World Series Championships during the teens. They will begin with a strong challenge in 2011teen (which will come up just short, leaving the eventual champion gasping for breath and declaring "ain't gonna be no rematch"), to be followed by a World Championship in 2012teen, with youngsters Tanner Scheppers and Martin Perez each pitching in relief for crucial outs in the decisive game (Perez, having started and pitched 5 innings in Game 5, will pitch in relief during Game 7, utilizing his change-up to get crucial outs against Andre Ethier and Manny Ramirez).

It takes premium players to accomplish such an audacious goal.

Justin Smoak is exactly the type of premium player it takes.

Do NOT trade Justin Smoak!


The pitching is coming up through the minors - pitching of rare quality: Holland, Feliz, Perez, Scheppers, Main, Wieland, Font, Purke. The pitching will be there, and most of it will touch 95 mph or better.

The hitting is potentially the problem, and the hitting ought not be compromised by trading away our best hitting prospect.


I am SICK of even knowledgeable Rangers fans falling into this mindset:
Justin Smoak is so good! How soon can we trade him for pitching?

This is small time thinking. This is taking a mediocre road towards the middle. If Justin Smoak is fantastic: ripen him and go for excellence! Think big.

Rangers fans have lost the ability to envision the Texas Rangers as a mini dynasty, as the equivalent of the late 1990s Derek Jeter/Mariano Rivera mini-dynasty Yankees. Further, why ought the Rangers limit their thinking to being a mini-dynasty? Can the Rangers be a Big Red Machine? Or, better yet: a 1950s Mantle/Berra/Whitey Ford/Phil Rizzuto Yankees?

If the Rangers are to be an Andrus/Kinsler/Smoak/Holland dynasty (and Andrus will lead that team as surely as Magic Johnson led the Lakers - Andrus name must always be listed first): the Rangers first must keep Smoak and Holland.


Good hitters can be had in trades and in free agency.

World Series are won by rare hitters: by hitters who are touched by God with that indefinable something which allows them to get the big hit off of David Price in the most crucial World Series at bat. A Mariano Rivera or a David Price will get good hitters out in crucial World Series situations. It takes a rare, touched by God hitter to get the hits which create a dynasty.

Kinsler, for all his hardheaded intransigence which is currently ruining the 2009 season: is such a hitter. When Kinsler is locked in: you can't throw a fastball by him. No one can. When he's locked in: Ian Kinsler is a big game hitter who scares the opposition to death.

Justin Smoak, by all accounts, has a solid chance to become another such hitter. You don't trade away such hitters while they are still prospects. You just don't. It's stupid. You only trade them when you are about to lose them in free agency, aka in a Teixeira situation.

In my opinion, when it comes to hitting a Clayton Kershaw or a David Price in a crucial World Series at bat: Kinsler and Smoak will both be more effective than Teixeira.

The Rangers have some guys who might become scary good hitters: Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Chris Davis. You can't tell, at this point, what these guys will become. Therefore, you also do not trade them, as you might be trading away Sammy Sosa. Trading them is thinking small. Trading them is General Managing for mediocrity. Trading them is gutless. Trading them displays a lack of vision. You keep the high upside guys and see what happens. If they go down, they go down. You at least give your franchise a chance to hit HUGE. A franchise doesn't often get a chance to hit HUGE on a hitter. Trading away such a rare chance is stupid. That the Rangers have three rare chances simultaneously does not mean the Rangers ought squander any of their three chances. That would be stupid.

Injured AAA Catcher Max Ramirez also needs to be kept. His all around batting excellence indicates he could some day join Kinsler and Smoak as a rare type of hitter who gives a franchise a chance at a dynasty. Ramirez does not have the freakish power of Hamilton, Cruz, or Davis. Ramirez does, however, possibly have that rare something. If you watch him, you will see it. You don't trade hitters like that. You keep them and send them to the plate against Clayton Kershaw in the 2012 World Series. Then you watch, into posterity, videotape of Max Ramirez' double into the right center gap which cleared the bases and provided the eventual winning run for the franchise's first World Series Championship. Kershaw's 2-1 fastball caught just a bit too much of the outside portion of the plate. Nelson Cruz, utilizing every last bit of the foot speed which helped convince the Rangers to trade for him in 2006, came around from first and slid in just ahead of the catcher's tag.

Think big. Don't be traumatized, in shock, unstrategic, and gutless. Think BIG.

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