Trade Rumors and Oklahoma First Basemen

First off, let me start off by thanking Kevin Milwood for having the worst start of 2009 right after I decide to rant about him getting passed over in the All Star game. Giving up 9 runs sure showed everyone!

For the record, I still believe Milwood should’ve been taken over Wakefield. One bad start does not destruct what he has put together all season.

Next, I want to take a quick moment to address the Roy Halladay “rumor” that seems to be floating about. Fox sports mentions the Rangers as a “possibility”…well let me use his words:

Here’s an early handicap of the Halladay sweepstakes. Warning! While I’m basing this list on some initial conversations with major-league executives, it is largely speculative. To my knowledge, none of the names mentioned below have even been discussed yet.

Rangers. Oh, they’ve got the pieces; their farm system is the best in baseball, according to Baseball America.

Problem is, the Rangers’ payroll flexibility is extremely limited because of the financial troubles of owner Tom Hicks. And pitchers do not waive no-trade clauses to work at the hitter-friendly Ballpark at Arlington.

Somehow this little blurb gets a mention on the Dallas Morning News Ranger’s blog and then a friend emails me the story as he read it from another baseball blog.

The internet is fun.

I’m shocked this even has the wheels (if you even want to say that) that it does right now. I can’t see this happening at all. Such a move would definitely require at least one of our huge prospects being shipped over to Canada (I’m thinking names like Smoak, Holland, Feliz, Beavan). This is reminding me of when we sent over Chris Young and Adrian Gonzalez over to the Padres — you know that trade where we now have nothing on our end from that deal.

There is too much risk and not enough reward for the Rangers here. Best case senario here is that Halladay helps get us into the playoffs and we make a semi-decent run. There is no doubt though, that even in the best case, this team is not championship caliber. Making a move for a big arm like Halladay really doesn’t do anything more than delay the inevitable.

Plus you have to remember that Hallady is going to cost big. Sure it is a “deal” in a sense as you have to pay a prorated $14 million followed by $15 million in 2010, but this team is already having enough financial trouble as it is. Keep in mind we are still wanting to ink our two big draft picks, and they are going to be asking for top-dollar (which is the reason other teams passed on them). On top of that, the Rangers are still wanting to make sure they can work out a new contract with Hamilton and they will still likely try to sign Ben Sheets when he is finally healthy as well. The numbers just don’t add up.

Basically, you’d be risking the teams health in both prospects and payroll for more than just the 1.5 years Halladay would be contracted as a Ranger. And for what payoff? Hallady is going to make the Rangers a championship contender? I don’t think so. This team isn’t a “one player away” club by any means. This team becomes a contender when the young guns finally develop.

Finally, you have that whole no-trade clause Halladay would need to wave to go to the friendly hitting confines of the Ballpark in Arlington — I’m sure he’d also love the climate change on top of that.

In short (too late I know), don’t count on this.

Before I finish up here for the day, I want to comment a bit on the moves at first base the Rangers have done over the Fourth of July weekend. First, Justin Smoak was promoted to AAA and then a day later, Chris Davis was recalled to AAA.

Both moves aren’t too shocking, but really I feel this is the best possible situation for the two of them. Smoak needs to prove he can preform at the next level and Davis needs to get his head right once again. With both of them being on the same roster, they should (hopefully) be able to push each other. I would have a feeling that they will both be playing almost daily with one at 1B and one at DH.

Now for everyone thinking that it is only a matter of time before Smoak is called up to the big leagues, once again, tap the brakes on that. Smoak is still not on the 40-man roster so he cannot be called up unless the Rangers wave someone or they place someone on the 60-day DL to make room for Smoak.

Also, I want everyone to remember what happened just one year ago. The Rangers promoted a hot-shot first baseman to AAA Oklahoma as he was destroying AA pitching. A few weeks later, he was called up to the major leagues and was hailed as the “1B of the future.” Now, everyone thinks he is worthless trash as he was on pace to crush the MLB strikeout and batting a sub-200 for the season.

It’s funny how quickly Davis’ fortune changed from this time last year to now. Don’t automatically think that Smoak is going to come in as our savior at first base or that Davis is done. Baseball is all about players and teams making adjustments over long periods of time (read: years not months).

Nothing is set in stone yet, so don’t continue to try to read tea leaves on how things will be. As with the Halladay rumors, just take everything in stride. The All Star break is just around the corner and the Rangers are just one game out of first as of today and there is no one that thought they would be at this point.

Enjoy it.

  • Joe

    Ritter! Get on your horse bro. ND's recruiting is taking off like one of Kim Jong's missles. I wanna hear what this means for you (and your grawn) in the long run. Will we keep 'em all? Ready? Set? Go Irish!

  • Ryan

    If I knew what half of those recruiting signings actually mean for us, I would — however, I don't know nearly enough to comment.

    Football posts are indeed coming quite soon though.