Rangers Chance at Black Gold...Texas Tea
For all the praise Jon Daniels received last offseason for his aggressive moves in the pitching department, the most recent defections make his first 13 months as general manager look diasterous. Take a look at the comings and the goings:
Carlos Almanzar, Alfonso Soriano, Ricardo Rodriguez, Adam Eaton, Chris Young, Adrian Gonzalez, Laynce Nix, Kevin Mench, Carlos Lee, Gary Matthews, Jr., Mark DeRosa, Juan Dominguez, Antonio Alfonseca, David Dellucci, Brian Shouse, Adrian Brown, D'Angelo Jimenez, Phil Nevin, Jerry Hairston, Jr., Fabio Castro, Bryan Corey, Kip Wells, Matt Stairs, Kenny Rogers, Sandy Alomar, Jr., Francisco Cordero, Adrian Brown.
Kevin Millwood, Brad Wilkerson, Akinori Otsuka, John Rheinecker, John Koronka, Robinson Tejeda, Freddie Guzman, Miguel Ojeda, Nelson Cruz, Rick Bauer, Frank Catalanotto.
To Be Determined:
Vicente Padilla, Rod Barajas, Eric Young.
Now, there is clearly a flow of talent out of Arlington at this point without as much coming back to Texas. To be fair, one of the best moves a general manager can make is infuse his minor league system with young arms, which Daniels has shown a commitment to since his hire. Here's a look at pitchers acquired through trade that have not yet pitched for the major league club:
Jon Leicester, Armando Galarraga, Cesar Rojas, Daniel Haigwood, Luis Mendoza.
Daniels looks horrible at his craft, but has golden opportunities to strike offseason oil. Reportedly, Barry Zito, the Rangers acknowledged number one free agent target, and agent Scott Boras sat down with the Rangers brass Thursday to begin talks. Two things are in the Rangers favor despite Zito's assurances he didn't want to play in Texas in the years before his free agency. First,the Rangers hire of Ron Washington has changed Zito's mind. Zito has a great respect for the former A's third base coach and wants to play for him, assuming the price is right. Second, the Rangers signed Boras' client Kevin Millwood last offseason so the Rangers have re-established a vital, if very expensive working relationship.
Daniels also approaches a potential opportunity with baseball's second round of winter meetings next week. This is where major offseason trades and free agent pickups can be made. After the first round of meetings, Daniels came away empty handed but assured the groundwork had been laid for deals. Starting Monday, he has the chance to prove his point.
Come away from these two opportunties empty handed and Daniels will not have struck oil. He will have struck out.