So the latest add is second baseman (and former shortstop and putative outfielder) Cristian Guzman, a veteran brought in to hold the position down while Ian Kinsler mends. His arrival will surely result in the designation for assignment of either Joaquin Arias or Andres Blanco, with the other being on the hook for the same once Kinsler returns - though if the groin strain keeps Kinsler out until September 1, the club could get away with keeping the additional infielder since rosters can expand that month.
This plainly seems like an effort to boost dependability in the club's big league depth, a move that might not have been made if Kinsler were healthy, but might have been anyway just to protect against exactly what the club is faced with now. Guzman isn't even a guarantee to make the playoff roster if Blanco, a better defender, is still around, but the reason Texas traded for the 11-year veteran (who has played in three post-seasons) is to lessen the chances that Kinsler's extended absence keeps the club from getting to October in the first place.
Owed a little more than $2.5 million the rest of the season, Guzman will reportedly be paid about $2 million of that by Washington (according to ESPN's Buster Olney), which forced Texas to give up a couple third-tier prospects in Frisco righties Ryan Tatusko and Tanner Roark.
Neither Tatusko nor Roark was a top 30 prospect here, and may or may not show up near the end of such a Nationals list this winter. I had them at 72 and 58 in the Rangers system this past off-season, respectively, though Tatusko in particular has had a breakout season that probably vaulted him past Roark and into fringe prospect status, something he wasn't prior to 2010. In his last six Frisco starts, during the time of year when AA clubs hand out more scout credentials than any, Tatusko has gone 4-1, 1.34, averaging nearly seven innings a start. He's allowed only two home runs in 100 innings this season and has generated groundouts 1.67 times as often as flyouts.
He'll have a chance with Washington. It wouldn't be surprising, if he continues to fare well over the final month-plus of the minor league season, to see Tatusko added to the Nationals' 40-man roster this winter. That wouldn't have happened here.
I've asked Tatusko, who has written the Back Fields Diaries for the Newberg Report the last two seasons, if he wants to issue one final entry. I'll let you know what he says.
For the many of you who have written me, disappointed that Texas traded him, I'd suggest you ought to be happy. He'll have a better shot at a big league career now, something that was more of a longshot here, and he did an outstanding job of putting himself on the map and turning himself into an asset that helped make yesterday's trade deadline deal possible. This is good for his career.
Roark, who went 10-0, 2.70 for Bakersfield in 2009 (primarily in relief) and had a brief look in Frisco, returned to the RoughRiders this season and kept getting better, posting a 5.06 ERA out of the bullpen in April, a 4.43 ERA in the rotation through June, and a 3.51 ERA in six July starts (again, presumably with lots of scouts on hand). He has ordinary stuff, but tends to get results with it, and like Tatusko he'll have a much better shot of getting to the big leagues with his new club.
For what it's worth, in the Nationals front office are Jay Robertson (Special Assistant to the General Manager) and Doug Harris (Director of Player Development), both of whom were with the Rangers when Tatusko was drafted in 2007 and Roark was drafted in 2008.
And that's where I want to segue off and talk about scouting and player development for a second.
Back in 2007, when Jon Daniels and Thad Levine put a long-term plan in place for this organization, rooted in replenishing the farm system through trades and international signings and the draft, to get this team where it is now, the boldest and most prominent evidence that the plan was underway was obviously the Mark Teixeira trade that July. But dial back a month earlier.
You always go into a draft planning to kill it. Always. Texas had been aggressive with high-upside picks and overslot bonuses well before the five-step plan was hatched in 2007.
The common dictum is that if you get four or five big leaguers out of a single amateur draft, you've done well.
But take a look at what has happened with the Rangers' 2007 amateur draft. And behold its productivity.
|1||Blake Beavan||P||18||HS (TX)||Eddings||Cliff Lee|
|1||Michael Main||P/OF||18||HS (FL)||DeMutis||Bengie Molina|
|1||Julio Borbon||OF||21||Coll (TN)||Wood||Rangers starter|
|1||Neil Ramirez||P||18||HS (VA)||Ardolina|
|1||Tommy Hunter||P||20||Coll (AL)||Wood||Rangers starter|
|2||Matt West||3B||18||HS (TX)||Taylor|
|3||Evan Reed||P||21||Coll (CA)||Guggiana||Jorge Cantu|
|4||Garrett Nash||SS/OF||18||HS (UT)||Pratt|
|5||John Gast||P||18||HS (FL)||DeMutis||2010 sixth-rounder (St. Louis)|
|6||Bobby Wilkins||P||17||HA (CA)||Flores|
|7||Tim Smith||OF||21||Coll (AZ)||Pratt||Daniel Gutierrez|
|8||Jonathan Greene||C||21||Coll (NC)||Cuthbert|
|9||Davis Stoneburner||INF||22||Coll (VA)||Ardolina|
|10||Andrew Laughter||P||22||Coll (LA)||Taylor|
|11||Anthony Ranaudo||P||17||HS (NJ)||Matsko||2010 first-rounder (Boston, #39)|
|12||Drew Pomeranz||P||18||HS (TN)||Wood||2010 first-rounder (Cleveland, #5)|
|13||Kyle O'Campo||P||18||HS (CA)||Flores|
|14||Matt Lawson||2B||21||Coll (MO)||Smith||Cliff Lee|
|15||Hector Nelo||P||20||Coll (FL)||Alvarez|
|16||Josh Lueke||P||22||Coll (KY)||Giegler||Cliff Lee|
|17||Mitch Moreland||1B/P||21||Coll (MS)||Wood||Rangers starter|
|18||Ryan Tatusko||P||22||Coll (IN)||Lee||Cristian Guzman|
|19||Kyle Murphy||OF||22||Coll (KS)||Smith|
|20||Kenny Smith||2B||23||Coll (NC)||Cuthbert|
|21||Erik Davis||P||20||Coll (CA)||Metzger|
|22||Donnie Ecker||OF||21||Coll (ID)||McGraw|
|23||Jake Kaase||SS||21||Coll (TX)||Taylor|
|24||Chris Gradoville||C||22||Coll (NE)||Smith|
|25||Andy Wilkins||3B/1B||18||HS (OK)||Eddings||2010 fifth-rounder (White Sox)|
|26||Kevin Keyes||OF||18||HS (TX)||Taylor||2010 seventh-rounder (Washington)|
|27||Drew Gray||C||21||Coll (MO)||Smith|
|28||Mike Ortiz||1B||18||HS (FL)||Alvarez|
|29||Ryan Falcon||P||22||Coll (NC)||Cuthbert|
|30||Ben Henry||P||18||HS (SC)||Cuthbert|
|31||Anton Maxwell||P||22||Coll (OR)||McGraw|
|32||Gaspar Santiago||P||17||HS (PR)||Thon|
|33||Jared Hyatt||P||23||Coll (GA)||Cuthbert|
|34||Chase Hutchingson||P||18||HS (AR)||Eddings|
|35||Jeff Schaus||OF||18||HS (FL)||Alvarez|
|36||Brian Dupra||P||18||HS (NY)||Matsko|
|37||Bryan Salsbury||P||17||HS (CA)||Flores|
|38||Hunter Hill||P||18||HS (TX)||Eddings|
|39||Tyler Fleming||P||21||Coll (KS)||Smith|
|40||Sean Meehan||P||18||HS (WA)||McGraw|
|41||Tom Edwards||1B||21||Coll (NJ)||Matsko|
|42||Jason Sowers||1B||20||Coll (KS)||Smith|
|43||Joey Rosas||P||20||Coll (AZ)||Pratt|
|44||Kris Jiggitts||P||21||Coll (ME)||Smith|
|45||Ryan Turner||P||22||Coll (GA)||Cuthbert|
|46||Yoandy Barroso||OF||18||HS (FL)||Alvarez|
|47||Ben Petralli||C||21||Coll (CA)||Metzger|
|48||Dillon Baird||SS||19||Coll (AZ)||Pratt|
|49||Brandon Hayes||OF||18||HS (OR)||McGraw|
|50||Paul Zarlengo||1B||18||HS (IL)||Lee|
Though Texas has been as busy as any club this month, due in large part to the development of the players it drafted in 2007, the Rangers may not be done.
The non-waiver trade deadline is a little more than three hours away. Stay tuned for TROT COFFEY's or news flashes as developments warrant.
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(c) Jamey Newberg