Sometimes the moves work out, like when you traded John Kruk, Eddie Whitson, Mackey Sasser, and a 1991 second-round pick and sixth-rounder for 26-year-old Barry Bonds, Mark Carreon, and an eighth-rounder (which you turned into 20-year-old AA reliever Mark Wohlers in the next week’s draft) and a 13th-rounder.
Or Aaron Heilman, Yorvit Torrealba, and a 2004 first-rounder for Jason Johnson, Jason Grimsley, and AA catcher-turned-first baseman Justin Morneau.
Or, to be sure, Milwaukee center field prospect Dave Krynzel for Boston shortstop prospect Hanley Ramirez, firmly blocked by Nomar Garciaparra at the time of your April 2004 trade.
Other times, you spend days, maybe weeks, haggling before finalizing that blockbuster that sends Preston Wilson, Jose Jimenez, Byung-Hyun Kim, and Ricky Ledee away and makes Geoff Jenkins, Mark Redman, Kaz Ishii, and Pokey Reese new members of the Exprestos, not to mention that second-rounder and sixth-rounder that you got tossed in. In other words, a flashy sizzle-over-steak trade that doesn’t do much good and doesn’t really hurt, but provides the adrenaline fix of making the deal.
I’ll readily admit that when I saw the news yesterday that Jim Thome had decided to return to the Twins, accepting a one-year deal with a $3 million base that’s reportedly less than what Texas offered, I was momentarily deflated. I love Thome, always have, even if I’m not sure how adding his bat was going to work out in terms of playing time, unless it was setting things up for another domino to fall.
That’s not to say I question whether Thome would have helped this lineup; I have no doubt he would have. But if he were to play against righthanders and if that’s the plan for Mitch Moreland, too, is Michael Young suddenly a DH against southpaws only, with two games a week somewhere else in the infield? And if Young fills in for Moreland against tough lefties, who DH’s?
Not that a right-handed designated like Manny Ramirez makes any more intuitive sense, since that’s what Young is slated to be. (Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes adds Texas to the Angels, Twins, Rays, and Blue Jays as teams who have asked about Manny.)
Maybe someone like Troy Glaus, a right-handed bat who can play first base? Sure, unless you’re expecting him to come in and mash lefthanders, which he hasn’t really done since 2007. You like Marcus Thames? Who’d play first against Brett Anderson and Gio Gonzalez and Dallas Braden and Jon Lester and C.C. Sabathia and Francisco Liriano and David Price and John Danks and Mark Buehrle and Ricky Romero and Brian Matusz – Thames or Young?
Change makes things more interesting. Especially this time of the year, when the sports landscape flags with the fortunes of the other teams that generally hold interest. The hot stove season in baseball is so awesome that it has a nickname, and television programming named after it, and part of the reason for that is change fires us up, renews hope, stokes new scenarios to dream on.
In some cases, the idea of adding a player you’ve been in awe of forever, still producing even if his prime years were back when you were able to ship John Lackey, Reggie Sanders, Randall Simons, Royce Ring, Garrett Atkins, and a second-round pick away for young Adam Dunn, Joel Pineiro, and a first-rounder that you turned into the great Guillermo Quiroz, the number 35 prospect in all of baseball, gets you all baseballed up, especially at the time of year when your pro and college football season is over, your basketball team is skidding off the road, and hockey’s just not enough to get you to spring training.
Five days ago, I tweeted: “Not sure how all this would shake out, but gotta say: Seeing Thome stride to plate Opening Day would be almost as great as Vlad a year ago.”
That visceral reaction to player movement will always exist for me, a onetime Rotisserie league baseball owner who, on some days, wishes he were the assistant to an assistant in a real Baseball Operations department. Even if guaranteed that the end result would be no better and no worse, there’s a part of me that would still vote yes for that one extra Rangers trade, that free agency flier, the ability to trade draft picks.
Because you never know, washed-up Kevin Elster might do a little damage if we just give him a chance, Cancun Lobstermen outfielder Ruben Sierra could be worth another shot, Colby Lewis may translate if we bring him back, maybe longtime nemesis Vladimir Guerrero actually has something left in the tank, and that trade you made, getting 18-year-old Sean Burroughs for 11-year veteran Marquis Grissom, could really pay off.
Hey, quick question. We’ll have a booth at FanFest next weekend, and one of things we’re thinking of doing is having a Rangers trivia contest on Saturday, one that lasts all day for those interested, with an autographed Bound Edition (signed by Rangers players, not me) or two for the winners. Shoot me an email if you like the idea, or if you have other ideas we might consider for the booth.
And if you have one of the 2,000 copies of the book sold so far, you can go to Amazon and post a Customer Review if that’s your sort of thing.