This is the first season in memory where MLB has one set trade deadline. No more will teams be able to pull off a last minute deal for a starter or a bat on the last day of August and change the baseball landscape at the last minute.
So, I think we’ll see more bubble teams make desperate moves at the deadline when they should probably do nothing. (Please JD, don’t be desperate, I trust you!) It kind of feels like people get to this point in the season, where the deadline looms over every team’s head, and everyone starts going insane: “Is my team gonna buy or sell? Can they get a lot? Is it worth it? We’re terrible, sell everyone! We’re so close, buy the best starter you can!”
But there are WAY more than just two options: .
*Teams don’t have to buy.
*Teams don’t have to sell.
*Teams can buy or sell, but just small pieces instead of trying to hit grand slams and remake their entire roster
*Teams can also just do nothing. And that’s ok.
I honestly hope the Rangers opt for the last option. I think that’s what makes the most sense currently.
This season, in many ways, has been a 4 month bonus: they’re better than anyone expected! They’ve been hanging around a playoff spot all season, sometimes getting over the hump but always within realistic striking distance of the wild card.
What they have is a good foundation to build on. They know how the guys play together, they know generally where they need to add pieces, and they know there is plenty of potential for next season. That said, this team probably isn’t ready for a deep playoff run just yet. Youthful teams usually need to have a playoff run or two before they strike big (think of the Astros or even the Red Sox) (and yes, the 2010 Rangers are an exception).
So why buy if we aren’t ready for the big time yet?
But at the same time...why sell when it would send the wrong message to the fans, and the players.
Emily Jones has said a number of times, both on the broadcast and The Athletic podcast, selling at the deadline when they can still see the wild card teams would make the team feel defeated. Woody has told the team throughout the entire season that they, the players, ultimately decide what happens at the deadline. How they play obviously determines what decisions are made. They haven’t played bad enough to start a fire sale — but let’s be real, they also haven’t played well enough to go all in and buy like someone with a brand new credit card.
And sure, you can roll your eyes about me saying the team will feel defeated. But, just think about it: how would you feel if your boss said “great job on that project you worked on” - and then threw it in the trash right in front of you. You have to keep that in mind when you think about the potential highs, and lows, that come with buying or selling. The players - despite their extra ordinary talent - are still human after all..
As we all know, July hasn’t been a great month for this team; but we don’t want to make any decisions based on such a small sample size - decisions that would affect the team and fan morale before opening up that new stadium.
However, there is one thing the Rangers could do this year: take advantage of the frenzy this strict deadline might cause. Because if a team decides that this is their year and goes all in on buying, maybe we could get huge returns on players of all kinds due to the market being insane. And that would be a great step toward making the work in the off season even easier, and would make selling, despite the disappointment it would bring to the current players, easier to swallow.
(Regarding a Minor trade, I think they have to get a much better haul than they got for Darvish. I think they also have to get someone that’s already big league ready within that haul...but that’s it’s own article!)
Ultimately, I totally get it. I think it’s very easy to panic, or get insanely giddy, after how the Rangers are doing. And, adding to all of that, we have this deadline looming, and for the first time ever, it is actually a real deadline. But just remember, if four or five games wouldn’t convince you that you need to trade the entire minor league system for Max Scherzer, then that same sample shouldn’t convince you that the only option is trading away everyone on the roster either.