The Red Sox won the World Series last year and its front office mistakenly believed it just had to run players out there in Boston uniforms and they would win it again.
It doesn’t work that way. Winning it all isn’t necessarily the result of having the best players. It’s having a number of players who have extraordinary seasons all at the same time. (Like Gallo, Pence, Santana, Choo.)
Those same players are just as capable of having subpar seasons. Or, more likely, key players get injured. When that happens to more than one player, the team that was unstoppable one year is very beatable the next. Factor in the fact that pitching is so unpredictable, especially out of the bullpen, and you realize why it’s so hard to repeat.
Players are human. And humans are extremely human.
The last team to repeat was the New York Yankees in 1998, 1999, and 2000. Before that, it was the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993. No team repeated in the 80s.
It’s rare. Especially in the free-agency, wild-card era.
Jon Daniels has a huge decision to make about this season. How much does he believe in the team he thought at the beginning of the year was just a placeholder for the future?
In typical GM speak, he addressed that with MLB.com’s Jessica Camerato: “We said at the beginning of the season that we weren’t going to place limits on this club. Overall we know which direction we’re going in. I don’t think it’s going to change all that dramatically.”
So there you have it. What “it” is isn’t exactly clear.
But Daniels said the Rangers will pursue pitching if it’s controllable for more than the rest of the year. That’s smart. Why not make the team stronger now and in the future? If you recall, one of his best trades he ever made was in 2015 when he picked up Cole Hamels. Immediately the Rangers went from a fourth-place club sinking fast to overtake the Angels and Astros and win the West. In the process he won the Manager of the Year award but they gave it to the manager.
One trade can make a huge difference. And Hamels wasn’t a rental. He was a keeper.
The Rangers need to do that again. The challenge is, as always, not to get fleeced in the deal. But that hasn’t been a fair characterization of recent Daniels deals. Yes, he have given away too many prospects that were considered high end, but in reality most didn’t pan out. Lewis Brinson, where are you? Mike Olt, where are you? Nick Williams, where are you?
So, instead of agonizing over the prospects Daniels would have to give up for that one huge arm—and it would have to be a lot of prospects—realize, prospects rarely pan out. Go with the proven over the speculative.
Even if it doesn’t catapult you into a playoff position, it does something as important. It gives you hope.
Fans buy hope. Fans don’t buy Drew Smyly.
Adrian Sampson (5-3, 3.27) vs. David Price (4-2, 2.70)
Game time: 6:10