“Have you seen him against left-handed pitching?!” asked Ron Washington incredulously – trying to duck the last question he wanted to answer about Mitch Moreland. The Rangers starting first baseman had hit 2 home runs off righty Brandon McCarthy before being lifted for pinch-hitter Brandon Snyder in the 7th inning of a failed extra inning loss to Oakland Thursday at the Ballpark.
No confidence. None at all. And who can blame Wash?
After the game, you can be confident that Wash assured GM Jon Daniels that he did his best to publicly avoid the lingering questions about Moreland. And don’t be surprised if Wash has already asked JD to make amends for one of his first, and worst, trades as Rangers general manager.
Adrian Gonzalez was dealt to the Padres along with Chris Young after the 2005 season for Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka. Gulp!
Now would be the perfect time for Gonzalez to return to Texas, and Daniels has built up an arsenal of players capable of getting it done.
Matt Harrison, Moreland and two premier minor leaguers could pry Gonzalez out of Boston and back to Texas. Harrison allowed 3 first inning runs in Thursday’s 5-4 loss in 10 innings to the A’s. But Harry’s recent cold spell and Moreland’s recent hot streak have nothing to do with the timing of these talks.
Kevin Youkilis will be returning to the Red Sox soon after a recent injury opened the door for outstanding rookie 3rd baseman Will Middlebrooks. There is no room in the Red Sox lineup unless they make a trade and the Rangers aren’t interested in Big Papi.
Dealing for Youkilis would be much cheaper for the Rangers but Texas sold out their 13th home game on Thursday (May 17th ). In other words, the Rangers easily have the money to take on Gonzalez’s 7-year, $ 154M contract signed with Boston before last season.
If you are worried about losing Harrison, don’t be. Roy Oswalt is patiently waiting to sign with the Rangers or the Cardinals for the remainder of the 2012 season. The day that a Rangers starter is dealt is the same day the Rangers get an assurance that The Wizard is on his way to Arlington as a 4th or 5th starter.
Don’t buy the argument that the Rangers don’t need any more offense (as well as defense when you look at the big picture) – not when you look at a possible World Series rematch against the Cardinals, for example.
Do you really want Michael Young playing up to 3-4 games in a National League park as a first baseman in the World Series again? Forget about it. Young should take on the same role that the Cardinals Allen Craig did in the last World Series: designated hitter in Arlington and pinch-hitter in St. Louis, unless injury dictates otherwise.
Picture the games in Arlington: Adrian Gonzalez at first base batting 5th behind Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre and in front of Young, Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli.
Picture the World Series games in St. Louis, or wherever. The Rangers would actually have a premier pinch-hitter available in Young instead of the likes of Estaban German in 2011, or Brandon Synder in 2012.
Roy Oswalt, with the Phillies last season, was lit up by the Cardinals in the playoffs. So what?! St. Louis lights everybody up, even with Albert Pujols long gone. The point is that even if Oswalt doesn’t crack the Rangers playoff rotation, at least Texas keeps him away from St. Louis or another World Series title contender.
Gonzalez’ left-handed bat would also be the ultimate insurance should Hamilton negotiations falter in November and December. But the main reason for this blockbuster trade is October 2012, the month that will make or break the careers of so many great veteran stars with the Rangers.