I remember he had a little glove waggle before he threw a pitch. I absolutely detested it, he’d peer over the top of his glove, then wiggle, and set into motion his delivery toward home plate.
It was aggravating. Every pitch he ever threw as a Texas Ranger was aggravating. Except that it wasn’t.
In his 12 games spent during the second half of 2012 in Texas, Ryan Dempster, was actually pretty good. I know spouting win-loss records will get you strung up by some, but he was a solid 7-3. His ERA was 5.09 (high) but that had been his modus operandi throughout his career, so the Rangers knew what they were getting.
And that brings me to my overarching point. Texas knew what they were getting, because Texas usually knows what they are getting. The people involved in Texas’ front office know how to do two things very well:
- Identify talent – whether through the draft, international scouting, etc
- And subsequently, evaluating that talent.
Those two items may sound redundant, hell they might even be, but I think it is worth parsing them out.
The first is straight forward. They have an excellent network of scouts distributed to make qualified decisions on the future projections of teenagers.
The second is where they show they are a first class organization. Their baseball minds have a way of coming to a consensus about the value of the talent they have on their team, and use that knowledge to match that against other teams during trade negotiations.
They are not without fault, exhibit A being the Ian Kinsler trade for Prince Fielder. Prince has underwhelmed while battling injuries since his arrival, meanwhile Ian Kinsler has had a career year and shows no signs of slowing down.
But pulling back a bit, that was a calculated risk the Rangers made because they saw a serious shortage of power from the left side of the plate and a surplus of talent in the middle infield.
In fact, they had so much talent that the person they had pegged to replace Kinsler, Jurickson Profar, missed the next two years of baseball with two arm injuries that required surgery, and the guy they replaced him with, Rougned Odor, is now a bona fide future star.
Even if Rougned Odor doesn’t become a superstar he’s already gained entrance into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame for this:
Jon Daniels is far from perfect but he is, as they say, willing to crack a few eggs to make an omelet.
JD understands that the object is to keep two concurrent goals in mind while constructing his team. The first is the present in which he must do his best to build a baseball team that comprises the best 25 men in the organization. The second is the team he is building to replace this one five years from now. It involves drafting, cultivating, and delivering talent to infuse into the Major League team.
He’s proven to be just as good as anyone in baseball at keeping those two things in mind. The real question is: When do you risk the second goal to maximize the opportunity of the first?
He’s currently at the crossroads of that question. He has the ability because of the depth of talent in the organization to pull the trigger on any trade that exists in baseball. The Rangers traded for a star pitcher in Cole Hamels last season and hardly touched any of their top farm talent because they are stocked so well. The way the trade market has opened will surely dictate that JD be willing to part with some of the most coveted prospects in baseball. Time and again, he’s been willing to pull the trigger on big trades that give up prospects because the Rangers are going to continue to find top-tier talent.
It is highly probable that Daniels is going to trade for someone in the next week. And if he and his staff determine that the top-tier talent available on the market is too expensive in terms of prospects they will pass. They’ll move on to a Ryan Dempster type player that we (fans) will all be underwhelmed by because we expect only blockbusters. And, it’ll be at an appropriate cost.
Have faith in this front office. They’re great at what they do. They are every bit as elite as the talent they put on the field. They may not hit a home run, but I can assure you there won’t be a Dempster Fire, but hell even those turn out alright in the end.