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Rangers Trade Ian For Prince… WHAT??????

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What happened?

I come back from a long trip to Lexington to see the UTA Mavericks try their hardest but still get soundly beaten by Kentucky, and I expect things to be a bit calmer for at least a while. Ho boy, was I wrong on that.

Just hours after getting home, the news hit hard. Ian Kinsler gone – traded to the Detroit Tigers for… Prince Fielder???

Of course, everyone is dancing in the streets at this, especially shouting, “that worthless piece of sh*t Kinsler is gone!!!” Pretty much everyone in so-called “Ranger Nation” has spewed venomous abuse at Kinsler, acting like he was the absolute worst player ever and that they wouldn’t mind at all if he got hit by a semi several times. I’ve already seen posts about “addition by subtraction,” like he was this horrible person in the clubhouse too even though there is every indication he was the exact opposite.

Well, pardon me if I’m not among those declaring this to be the greatest move in the history of baseball and another shining reason why Jon Daniels is a greater genius than Stephen Hawking who has never made a bad move in his entire life.

When the Rangers failed to sign Fielder back in January of 2012, I breathed a sigh of relief, especially with the contract the Tigers ended up giving him. I didn’t want Texas throwing away that much money on his type of player then, so I do have precedent with this.

If I was more of a Grassy Knoll type of guy (ironic, given what anniversary is upon us), I might say this is yet another move Jon Daniels is making solely to try ad drive Ron Washington out of town. I will say this is a move that makes very little sense in that Prince Fielder is the exact opposite of everything Wash wants in a player and everything the Ranger shave stood for since 2009.

Once upon a time, the Rangers chose to build a team solely around big guys who hit for power and nothing else – no speed and no defense. It did not work, to say the least. Then Ron Washington came on board, and at long last things started changing. You had to be able to field your position well to get on the field. You had to be able to run and make things happen on the basepaths.

Well, that’s all out the window now, as the epitome of “can’t field and can’t run” will be wearing their uniform.

If Fielder is a full-time designated hitter and Mitch Moreland or almost anyone else plays first, this might look better. But within a short time after the trade, Daniels began saying that Fielder is definitely their first baseman. (Um, why is the GM and not the manager saying where someone is going to play months before spring training even opens?)

Remember how everyone complained about bad Michael Young was at first in 2011, how his lack of range killed a team that still was one play (elsewhere) from winning it all? Yeah, sure bet Fielder’s even worse. In fact, he should be legally required to change that name, because “fielder” isn’t anywhere in his game.

Basically, here’s the strategy for anyone playing against the Rangers: Hit a grounder. Especially to the right side.

People are quick to point out how the Tigers still made the World Series in 2012 and ALCS last year with not only Fielder at first but another limited defender in Miguel Cabrera at third. The Tigers could get away with that because their pitchers led the majors in strikeouts. Outside of Yu Darvish, the Rangers’ pitching staff is built around putting the ball in play and trusting their defense. Can’t do that anymore.

I get the logic. The Rangers desperately needed power, and the free agent crop in the department is thin. They had to pull off some type of move like this to improve there. But outside of hitting home runs, there pretty much is nothing else Fielder can do.

Heck, this will likely result in Adrian Beltre having the worst year of his life if he’s going to bat after Fielder. No more doubles for Belt; if he’s batting with Prince on first, he can’t get anything other than a single if he keeps it in the park, – even with a shot into the 407 gap, he’ll still have to stop at first because Prince can’t go past second.

Doesn’t it say something that the Tigers were willing to pull this trade just two years after giving Fielder a nine-year contract? At least A-Rod lasted three with the Rangers.

So basically, by making this trade, the Rangers took on someone with a contract with A-Rod-like implications and the inability to catch anything, and they have now quadrupled the demands for Jurickson Profar, so so far has failed to live up to all those lofty expectations. He now has to become one of the absolute best players in the game, or else.

If Fielder plays the field and Profar is anything less than an All-Star, don’t expect the Rangers to even come close to a tie-breaking game in 2014.

What has happened to me? At one time in my life, I was the pinnacle of seeing the Rangers through rose-colred glasses, to the chagrin of almost everyone I knew. Now, it looks to me like, little by little, this front office is destroying everything they built because the GM wants to treat them like a fantasy team and not an actual team. They’re slowly turning back into the Rangers of the 90s, and that’s not exactly a good thing.

I need to find something to take my mind off of this. Oh look, the Rangers have sent out their ads for next year’s season tickets.

There’s a picture of Kinsler on it. Smooth, Rangers.

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It May Be Now Or Never For the Rangers Organization

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.