Saturday, March 06, 2010

Mocking midsummer trades for 40-Man Roster crunched Texas Rangers

But, first:
Spring Training Games Begin!

Photos Colorized by uniform fan Larry Bodnovich, courtesy of Uni-Watch.

Rube Marquard and Chief Meyers in Brooklyn plaid.

John McGraw and Chicago's Frank Chance.

Notice the semi seersucker look of McGraw's uniform. The NYG also wore some plaid.

Lot's of teams wore very dark road uniforms, as Chance in this photo.

Method #1 for alleviating Rangers' 40-Man Roster crunch:

trade pitching prospects who do not throw 95 mph. Examples: Moscoso, Kiker, Kirkland, Boscan, for either

A) major league role players, or
B) low level minor league prospects who will not soon be added to any 40 man rosters.

Method #2 for alleviating 40-Man Roster crunch:

trade highest value prospects for highest value major leaguers.

Roy Oswalt, anyone? Roy is my wild speculation. Here's why:

A. Astros need to restock farm system; Rangers can do that for them.
B. Rangers President Nolan Ryan and Pitching Coach Mike Maddux are both familiar with Oswalt from then AA Round Rock: Maddux coached Oswalt during Oswalt's breakthrough season in the minors.
C. Ryan has friendly contacts inside the Astros organization.

Oswalt to Rangers makes sense all around. The only things stopping it are: the emotional bond which Astros fans have with Oswalt; Oswalt will turn 34 this season, adding to the risk for the Rangers. However, I say Astros fans would appreciate seeing Oswalt go to an emerging winning team -- as opposed to seeing Oswalt suffer through a string of 86-loss seasons in Houston.

I am always saying: keep the high value prospects ~ think big ~ be patient ~ let the high value prospects have every chance to develop into something special. However, if the Rangers offense displays improved patience at the plate during April, May, June (which would indicate the offense has potential to be an offense which can produce runs during the playoffs), then the Rangers actually do have the ammunition to go get both a Zack Greinke (the best pitcher in baseball?), and a Roy Oswalt, and still maintain a strong minor league system.

photo by AP

Further, the Rangers could combo grab super speedy defender CF Michael Bourn of the Astros: a 4th year RH hitter who had a .354 OBP and 61 steals in 606 ABs from the lead off spot in 2009. And Bourn has leadership qualities.

Bourn is valued by the Astros. However, the Rangers can offer a lot.

Here's how all that could look:

Greinke for Holland, Smoak, Font, Boscan

Oswalt and Bourn for Hunter, Harrison, Ogando, Kiker, Main, Houston native David Murphy, and Engle Beltre.

With what does that leave the Rangers? A LOT:

Rangers Starters:
Greinke, Oswalt, Harden, Feldman, Colby Lewis

Rangers Bullpen:
Francisco, Wilson, Feliz, Ray, Oliver, O'Day, Nippert

Rangers Minor League Pitching:
McCarthy, Moscoso, Mathis, Strop, Beltre, Hurley, Gutierrez, Beavan, MarPez, Scheppers, Kirkland, Phillips, Wieland, and more.

It pains me to think of high value prospects such as Holland, Ogando, Main, Font, Smoak, and Engle Beltre going out the door. Those are as high quality prospects as exist in all of baseball. However, somebody truly does have to go out the door.

Even in this scenario, the Rangers would maintain high value prospects in the system: MarPez, Scheppers, and more. The Rangers would have acquired the best pitcher in baseball + a grizzled Oswalt to provide leadership in do or die playoff situations + a speedy defender in CF who can lead off as a RH hitter against LH pitchers and who can be a weapon on the basepaths. Rangers CF, with both Borbon and Bourn on the case, would go from a question mark to one of the strengths of the team. The Rangers starting rotation would go from a question mark to one of the strengths of the team. The Rangers bullpen is already a strength. Rangers defense is already a strength. The offense needs to SHOW ME maturity and consistency. However, IF the offense shows itself capable, then Greinke, Oswalt, and Bourn make the Rangers true World Championship contenders.

However, to reiterate, Method #1 remains viable: trade from the second highest tier of prospects; let Holland be the Rangers' Greinke; let Hunter be the Rangers' Oswalt; let Craig Gentry or Endy Chavez* be the Rangers' Michael Bourn. Let Harrison help in the 2010 pennant race. Let Ogando, Main, and Font continue to develop as potential star players. Enjoy the rise of Smoak and Engle Beltre. Absolutely viable.

I'm thinking the Rangers options are win/win ... with this caveat: no more trades for Brandon McCarthy types or Adam Eaton types. Those were panicky stupid trades. No more panicky stupid.

* Endy Chavez was an outstanding CF insurance acquisition by the Rangers. Kudos, Jon Daniels. By midsummer, the Rangers could easily hit Elvis Andrus lead off, hit CF Endy Chavez 9th, and roll on to the playoffs.

Photo by Sports Illustrated:
Endy Chavez reaches over the wall and brings Scott Rolen's bid for a 2 run home run back into play. Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman
called it one of the greatest post-season catches ever.


Sis in Law 68 said...

How dare you even ponder trading my boy Derek!! Shame on you. Even though the Royals are a fine team, and I appreciate Zach Greinke's brilliance, I am shocked that you would ever package Derek in any mock trade. Consider this a warning. You do it again and you will feel my full wrath. Derek forever!!

gcotharn said...

Sis in Law,

I've learned my lesson: appeasement never works - not even when you offer a sweet left-handed flower to Kansas City. I retract everything, and profusely apologize for my impertinence.

Derek forever!