So two games into Matt Garza’s brief time with the Rangers?
Yes, so far I’m impressed.
Forgive me, it’s sort of become my nature to become cynical about players that come to the Rangers from elsewhere while being hopelessly optimistic about the ones that come out of their own system.
Still, in two starts since coming from the Cubs, the hero of the 2008 ALCS has only allowed three earned runs in 14 innings, bolstering what was already the second-best pitching staff in the American League. (Hey, remember when it was certain that the heat and winds of Texas meant the Rangers would never have good pitching?)
But what also impresses me was in the press conference following Monday’s game, where another poor offensive night cost him a chance at a win and needed two home runs in the ninth to salvage a win for the team. He kept going on and on about, “my team, my teammates.” That automatically makes him light years better than Great God Cliff Lee in my book.
So while Garza can’t carry this team alone, he may just be the addition needed to rescue the season.
Even after their second straight walk-off night where they trailed in the ninth, the Rangers remain five games back of the Oakland A’s in the West. Of course, with nine games remaining against the A’s this season, starting with three this weekend in the toilet that is the I-Forget-What-Company-Name-Is-On-It-This-Month Coliseum, this season still remains far from over.
Which is good, because this has officially become an all-or-nothing season for the Rangers. If they aren’t hoisting the big trophy at the end of the year, they may never get another chance again.
I don’t want to say something like that. But the is organization has already mortgaged its future big time and may not be done doing so.
The Rangers really flushed out their farm system, dealing Nick Tepesch, Justin Grimm, Mike Olt and C.J. Edwards to get Garza. As I type this, they may very well be on the verge of unloading even more to bring in Hunter Pence (though seeing him in a Texas jersey would be sweet) or even bring back Michael Young (is Jon Daniels ready to tuck that tail between his legs?)
It’s exactly the kind of moves you don’t expect JD to make. Just six years after committing highway robbery by getting the foundation of this Rangers team from Atlanta for Mark Teixeria, Daniels has put himself in the position to be on the other end of such a trade.
Not that he may have already done that, as one of the teams the Rangers are battling for a playoff spot in Baltimore is doing so with a plethora of former Rangers
What I’m mainly getting at is, if you were worried about this team’s chances this year with the lack of off-season moves, it may be even worse after this year.
Let’s get this out of the way: Garza isn’t staying with the Rangers after this season. Nellie Cruz, who may or may not play another game for the Rangers after today with a Biogenesis related suspension now looking like a certainty, isn’t re-signing either. Baseball players don’t stay in a football town.
That’s also why no big name free agent, whoever may be on the market this year, is going to sign either. When you’re in an area where Tony Romo sneezing is ogling to get 100 times more press than the Rangers winning a pennant, yo have to money whip a guy to get him to come here. And JD and Nolan aren’t driving this team back into bankruptcy doing that again.
So the only place they can restock the team next year is from within. And that place just became a great deal thinner.
Especially since they’ll be looking for another catcher again after this year. And that position has sadly become bare in the organization, even before the purging.
Not to mention that the can’t miss prospect Jurickson Profar isn’t lighting it up as much as everyone said he was going to. Granted, that can just mean what we all should know – that rookies usually struggle. Hopefully it’s that and not what a number of his coaches were saying going into this season – that he was being rushed and just isn’t ready.
The point is that if the Rangers have any hope in 2014, Profar will have to find a place to play full time while he and Leonys Martin take a big step up. Derek Holland needs to prove this year isn’t just a fluke and that he has become the frontline pitcher we all have hoped/believed he can be.
And someone else from what remains, like a Ryan Strausborger, is going to have to come out of nowhere.
That may be too much to hope for. So we gotta accept that all the eggs are in this basket and hope for a Giants/Cardinals type rally for this season in Texas.