Over the Break, Jon Daniels conceded that he was actively talking to other clubs about ways to make the Rangers, then holding down a Wild Card spot, a stronger team. No surprise there, of course, unless you consider JD's public acknowledgment a bit out of character.
"Obviously our goal is a lot bigger than just being in a good position," Daniels said. "We've got expectations and goals and I'd like to reward the club and help these guys, the way they've played."
Just a week before making that comment, Texas was coming off taking three of four from Oakland, sweeping St. Louis on the road, winning a series in Yankee Stadium, taking two of three from the Reds at home, and following up on two straight losses to Seattle with a run five out of six against the Mariners, Astros, and Orioles.
So, yeah, on the one hand, we know what this team is capable of, even in its decimated state. This is the same team that just pulled off that stretch of 15 wins in 21 games, mostly against contenders, and it's about to get healthier.
On the other hand, we can all see that giving up a package for Matt Garza that looks like the one the Angels gave up a year ago for Zack Greinke could very conceivably find a similar result, unless the Rangers couple it with another move for a productive everyday bat, if not two.
Yeah, but Texas is far better able to withstand a hit to the farm system than Los Angeles was. Not even close.
Still, on that other hand, there's that asset allocation thing. If you trade some combination that includes two or three or four of Mike Olt and Luis Sardinas and C.J. Edwards and Neil Ramirez and Luke Jackson now, you don't have them five months from now when you're chasing Giancarlo Stanton or David Price or anybody else. And you don't have Garza at that point, either.
Sure, but back on the one hand, a playoff rotation with Yu Darvish and Derek Holland and Garza at the top, with Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis and Martin Perez and Alexi Ogando candidates to figure in at number four, sounds a ton better than Darvish and Holland plus all those health/inexperience question marks behind them.
On the other hand, without revitalizing this offense, there probably is no playoff rotation.
OK, but the window is now. That's not to say it's closing — but it's open now. Go for it.
But on the other hand, if you're the GM, is this the right July to go to ownership and pitch a payroll increase tied to a prospect overpay?
On the one hand, winning farm system beauty contests is a thing of the past. It's all about getting to 162+ and making noise when you get there, and using some of that minor league ammunition to do it is a big part of the blueprint.
On the other, again, look at this roster, at this moment: You don't ever want to mortgage too much future for too little present.
On the one hand, you trust your medical people (both teams), and accept some level of risk.
On the other, you worry about a pitcher like Garza — poised at age 29 to land the one multi-year super-contract of his career — coming in and hiding any physical issues, if there are any.
On the one hand, Garza wouldn't need to be dominant for two months (see Cliff Lee 2010 and Todd Stottlemyre 1998: Just having a reliable innings-eater would be huge for this club).
On the other, if Ryan Dempster had won just one more game last summer, or maybe even given Texas a few more innings . . . Never mind.
On the one hand, as a GM you want to reward the guys, and go get them an impact boost, or more. This isn't fantasy league baseball. The front office can inject some energy, too.
On the other, maybe the repercussions of the reward will hurt long-term a lot more than it will help short-term.
This next week-plus is huge, not only for the ballclub, which is facing the Yankees, Indians, and Angels (while Oakland has the Astros, Angels, and Jays), but also for the GM, whose challenge is to think about these things all of us are thinking about, and to do something about it.
Maybe this is the one time throwing up a late stop sign with a potential score rounding third is the right call.
P.S. Here's just one more thing Chris Davis and I have in common:
Mike Coolbaugh's tragic accident happened six years ago today. His legacy in baseball lives on.
I'm very honored and humbled by this, and accept it on behalf of you guys and all the loyal and generous Texas Rangers fans I've been fortunate enough to be around these last 15 years.