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Danks, Diamond, and TNSTAAPP

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As all the Clemens talk continues to swirl, the big question that seems to be getting debated among Rangers fans is, do we give up a John Danks or a Thomas Diamond, if necessary, to get Clemens?

I tend to fall in the TNSTAAPP category (or, to be more correct, there's no sure thing with pitching prospects,) and thus am willing to part with Danks or Diamond in the right deal. This is one of those rare occasions where the deal might be right, that makes me more inclined to go along with such a proposal.

That said, I think it is worth noting that neither Danks nor Diamond is a King Felix or a Mark Prior in terms of prospect valuation. They each made the BA top 100 prospect list this year, but each was in the 50s, marking them as very good, but not elite (i.e., Blalock/Teixeira circa 2002), prospects.

Just for the sake of reference, I thought it would be worth listing all the pitchers who BA ranked from 50-59 for 1997-2002:

Jimmy Gobble, lhp, Royals
Mark Phillips, lhp, Padres
Nate Cornejo, rhp, Tigers
Gavin Floyd, rhp, Phillies
Dewon Brazelton, rhp, Devil Rays
Kurt Ainsworth, rhp, Giants
Joe Torres, lhp, Angels
Matt McClendon, rhp, Braves
Jason Standridge, rhp, Devil Rays
Wascar Serrano, rhp, Padres
Wilfredo Rodriguez, lhp, Astros
Mike Bynum, lhp, Padres
Luis Rivera, rhp, Braves
Brad Baisley, rhp, Phillies
Jesus Colome, rhp, Athletics
Ed Yarnall, lhp, Reds
C.C. Sabathia, lhp, Indians
Rob Bell, rhp, Reds
Jeff Weaver, rhp, Tigers
Eric DuBose, lhp, Athletics
Jeff Austin, rhp, Royals
John Curtice, lhp, Red Sox
Orber Moreno, rhp, Royals
Kris Benson, rhp, Pirates
Willie Martinez, rhp, Indians
Jason Grilli, rhp, Giants
Ryan Brannan, rhp, Phillies
Mike Judd, rhp, Dodgers
Valerio de los Santos, lhp, Brewers
Seth Greisinger, rhp, Tigers
Jim Pittsley, rhp, Royals

That track record should be kept in mind, before we get too worked up about the possible downside of dealing Danks or Diamond, who have a total of 1 start, between them, above A-ball. 31 pitchers, ranked similarly to Danks and Diamond. Sabathia is clearly the best of that group, with Benson and Weaver the second and third best (albeit not necessarily in that order). And then, after that, you have...Jimmy Gobble? Ed Yarnall? Jeff Austin? Isn't Roger Clemens worth giving up a 1/10 chance that you'll have a Sabathia or a Weaver, and a 9/10 chance that you'll have the next Wascar Serrano?

And let me be clear...I'm not advocating pillaging the farm system. Generally speaking, I'm an advocate of building from within, or holding onto prospects rather than dealing them, when possible.

But I am willing to make exceptions if the right scenario arises, and to get one of the best starting pitchers in baseball -- even as just a "rent-a-player" -- I think constitutes the right scenario.