The end of the All-Star break can't come soon enough. Sure, guys like Adrian Beltre can certainly use this time to rest things like balky hamstrings, but as a writer, it's difficult to write when there is literally nothing going on worth writing about. We're still about 5-7 days away from the trade deadline activity heating up, and the Rangers don't play until tomorrow.
With that said, I'd like to address a possible addition that the Rangers could make to the team without having to give up a single prospect. If you had to go back and read that last sentence, it's true. The only thing the Rangers would need to give up is some cash, and would get to keep guys like Jurickson Profar while adding what many scouts believe to be a frontline starting pitcher.
The pitcher's name is Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, a Cuban defector that has been working out in Mexico while waiting on the United States government to clear him, which could come within the next few days, leaving him open to sign with a team next week. Gonzalez wouldn't be restricted by international signing guidelines put in place by the Collective Bargaining Agreement since he's 26 and has pitched at least 3 seasons professionally in Cuba, meaning he'll be declared a free agent, and any willing team can sign him.
The cost won't be cheap, with projections showing he'll likely be signed for somewhere between $40 million to $60 million, possibly more. Even still, unlike the scenario with Yu Darvish, there is no posting fee or anything that will need to be paid to his former team. Over a term of likely 5 years, you're talking about a contract that is still almost half of the amount Cliff Lee signed for in 2010 with the Phillies.
Gonzalez has a Major League ready pitching repertoire with a fastball that sits in the mid-90's but can touch the upper 90's at times. He also throws a changeup, a forkball, and a curveball. He's said to hide the ball well through his delivery, and has a 6'3" athletic frame to go along with all of it.
Now, obviously, the Rangers wouldn't be the only team interested in signing such a pitcher. The Dodgers reportedly want Gonzalez "badly", which is no surprise considering the Dodgers, under new ownership, have been throwing money around like a drunken sailor. The Angels, Cubs, Red Sox, and the Yankees couild always be potential interested parties as well.
I think what intrigues me the most about this idea is that Jon Daniels and company have done very well in recent years of getting the guys they really want. Yeah, they wanted Zack Greinke this past offseason, but not for the price the Dodgers were willing to pay. After the 2010 season, the club spent money to acquire Adrian Beltre after the Angels had reportedly been the team to beat in the bidding war. Many thought that was a bad contract, but he was a player the Rangers really wanted, and they got him.
Perhaps there is no better example than that of Yu Darvish. Toronto had been rumored to have won the bidding war to negotiate with Darvish, yet it was the Rangers that put in the high bid, getting the guy they coveted and not being afraid to spend money to do so.
I think this might be another situation where Daniels could be given the green light to open the wallet of ownership and spend some money on a guy that is projected to be a valuable starter that would only need a few minor league appearances before being ready to join a Major League club.
A rotation fronted by Darvish, Holland, Gonzalez, and a combination of Lewis, Harrison, Ogando, Feliz, etc. just gives the club a lot of options, and beyond that, possible trade pieces somewhere down the road (aka during the offseason) to acquire a power bat or fill another position of need.
The Rangers might not even try to sign Gonzalez. They may not even be interested, but if they are, you can bet they'll attempt to do everything possible to get him to Texas, to a team that could potentially contend right now and in the future, and somehow, the thought of that just makes me smile.
I'm ready for some baseball.
Edit: Gerry Fraley of the DMN is now saying the Rangers are in on Gonzalez and will seek to sign him.