Man, it's tough to be a fan of the Texas Rangers right now.
That isn't to say that I don't enjoy writing about them or watching the games -- I do -- but when listening to the radio, watching TV, or perusing Twitter seemingly brings extra rounds of bad news, it certainly tests the limits of patience.
Despite the immediate issues facing the organization right now -- none more at the forefront than the 16 disabled list victims thus far in the 2014 season -- the way in which Jon Daniels and the rest of the front office handle the remainder of this season will go a good way toward determining the future course of the Texas Rangers.
Now, before you think that I'm already throwing in the towel on the 2014 season, I'd like to make it clear that I'm not. At the same time, Daniels will face immense public pressure to do something, anything this season just to shake things up.
In one camp, you have people that want to see the organization go out and sign Kendrys Morales, and they want it to happen right now. Furthermore, the same people still have illusions that Giancarlo Stanton is on the market -- he isn't -- and could be had for someone like Jurickson Profar, who has yet to play in a game this season and very well may not play at all in 2014. These people want to go for the gold, injuries be damned, and in their eyes, the franchise has the kind of money with massive TV dollars kicking in soon in order to go out and make great things happen.
In the other camp, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, you have people that want nothing more than to see the roster torn apart. Other than maybe Yu Darvish and Shin-Soo Choo, these people want everyone else on the market. As the days move forward and the Rangers hover just below .500, this camp is gaining steam and even inciting media types to join in.
Over the past several days, as you may have seen Eric mention, several writers -- and many, many more fans -- have promoted the idea that the Rangers should trade Adrian Beltre and, depending on who you listen to, either get pitching help for 2015, or just scrap the whole thing and try again in 2016.
Of course, I can't go this far and not state my position on the subject, which is exactly why I've rambled on this far.
To me, it seems incredibly shortsighted that as we close the month of May, we're already talking about trading one of the most consistent producers this organization has seen at a premium infield position.
Some are quick to point out that Beltre has struggled this season, and occasionally refer to the slow start as a product of his age (35) finally catching up to him. Yet, in the month of may, Beltre has put up a respectable .843 OPS. Over the past two weeks, he's put up a .928 OPS. In other words, after a slow start, much like 2013 (and even 2011 if we just want to throw that out there), Adrian Beltre has looked a lot like Adrian Beltre.
The sticking point, for me, on any potential Adrian Beltre trade hinges around the fact that I simply don't think the Rangers would get as much in return as most people believe they would. After all, the cited age reason for possibly trading him is just as likely to prevent any team from giving up anything of significant value in return.
If an organization comes forward and offers up a younger-than-Beltre big bat or a top-of-the-rotation starter for Beltre, then by all means you make that deal anytime. Yet, any organization making a deal for Beltre is going to likely view him as a final piece of sorts to get it over the hump. You're not getting anything but prospects.
While that's not all bad, it all assumes that Joey Gallo, currently killing the baseball in single-A Myrtle Beach, is going to be a hit and be the guy that fills in. At that, he likely won't break through to Arlington until 2016 at the earliest.
There's also much talk about unloading Elvis Andrus and filling his spot at SS with Profar while hanging onto Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas as well. I may be in the minority here, but the idea that Profar has now hurt his shoulder twice in the same season -- the most recent occurrence reportedly as he rolled over in bed, if you believe that -- and he can be 100% counted on to play a premium infield position going forward... well that just doesn't sit well with me.
I have no idea what the long-term prognosis is for Profar, and yet I'm uncomfortable just the same in not having the knowledge that the shoulder issues won't plague him throughout his career.
The main overreaction in the midst of all of this, however, has come from that group that wanted Jon Daniels fired the moment the Rangers didn't win the World Series in 2012. And overreact they do.
Apparently, if I've got this right, there's a prevailing thought out there within the fan base that the Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler trade is and always will be a massive failure.
After 2 months of the first season.
I can't emphasize enough how poor of an overreaction that seems to be. Sure, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but judging a trade this early on just seems, well, irresponsible.
I don't even want to touch on the notion I've seen floating out there that Detroit traded the Rangers "damaged goods" except to say this: If the Rangers really believed that to be the case, you can bet the rest of the sport would be hesitant to deal with Detroit in the future. That's not exactly the kind of label you want to have, and there's literally nothing to be gained long-term by hiding an injury and sliding a guy through in a trade.
Maybe Prince Fielder never will live up to expectations. Maybe Ian Kinsler will be a world-killer for the rest of his career in Detroit. I'm not betting on either one.
I get it. We've become programmed to want and expect positive results. For a franchise that went from the bottom of the AL West to a franchise that was so close to getting it all done in 2011, and now dealing with injuries at a rate I can't recall any baseball team ever having to deal with, it's become a bit more difficult to temper expectations than it might have been even five years ago.
I just can't bring myself to get on board with the thought that, with better health in 2015, this ball club can't be a contender. I can't bring myself to like the idea of "rebuilding" for 2016 or beyond. Not if Yu Darvish is able to opt out of his deal after 2016 to pursue more money, which is more likely to happen than not. Not with Shin-Soo Choo in the fold to be ready to win now as opposed to two seasons from now. And certainly not with the possibility that, should the Rangers manage to regroup and get off to a better start next season, there will be an embarrassment of riches at the highest levels of the farm system available to patch in as reinforcements where needed.
And no, I'm still not giving up on this season. The Rangers very well may hover around .500 all season, but there are a lot of players I'm interested in watching, which makes the whole thing less of a lost season after all, regardless of the outcome.