Texas Rangers: What would they look like without Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels?

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images /

As the 2017 MLB non-waiver trade deadline draws closer, rumors of the Texas Rangers trading Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels grow louder. What would the team look like if that happens?

The entire Texas Rangers fanbase seems quite divided over the subjects of Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels. A good chunk of fans want to see them gone. Yet, a strong group remains that wants to see at least one of their contracts extended. If those wanting to wish them farewell got their wish, what should they expect?

The current pitching staff will suffer

For starters, Nick Martinez and Martin Perez would become the default anchors of this staff. Those calling this season unbearable should just hang on to their hats, because next season will be a doozie. With all due respect to Martinez and Perez, they’re not the kind of arms you build a pitching staff around.

They’ve played well in a few situations, but they’re far from consistent. They’re certainly less consistent than Darvish and Hamels have been. Plus, Martinez and Perez just don’t have the longevity or stamina that the current number one and two do.

With that comes shorter outings from the starters. This leads to wear and tear on the bullpen. Now your 2-5 deficits become final scores of 4-14. If you’re willing to ride out at least one year of unbearable pitching, then more power to you. I mean, I guess you can say “Hey, we’re Texas Rangers fans. What’s one more year of bad pitching?” That, or maybe the 80s really was your decade.

There will be no promises

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In any case, expect to see things implode far worse in 2018 than anything this season has offered. Building a pitching staff takes time. Just ask those 1990s Atlanta Braves. They didn’t grow their rotation of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz overnight. It took time. And as a matter of fact, even with them making the playoffs 14 out of 15 seasons from 1991 to 2005, they won just one championship.

Even if Texas pulls in a haul of great, young arms with high potential, we must remain realistic about potential and what it means. Remember D-V-D?

Back before 2010, those three prospects were supposed to be the future of this team. Thomas Diamond pitched at the big league level in 2010 and hasn’t been back since. John Danks was released by the Braves right before this season started.

Edinson Volquez is the only one out of the trio that’s made an MLB career for himself. Yet, he’s bounced around as a journeyman and has had a couple of good seasons. But an ace, he has not been.

The hopes of landing Shohei Otani will die

Rumor has it that Japanese legend Shohei Otani (you know, the guy they’re calling “the Japanese Babe Ruth?”) has the Texas Rangers near the top of his list. Anyone saying they don’t want him on their team is lying to you.

He’s an incredible talent with major long ball power and then a 96+ fastball. He boasts top-of-the-league numbers in home runs and earned run average over in Japan.

The guy trains with Darvish in the offseason. In fact, he idolizes Darvish. The two are good friends and if the money is right, the duo would love to play along-side each other for their respective team. Because he can DH when he’s not pitching, he’s naturally a better fit with an AL team. So unless Yu ends up getting traded to the NL, sending him off pretty much writes off all shots at Otani landing in Arlington.

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The ones wanting them gone will silently miss them

The words of the great country pioneers, the Carter Family certainly will ring true after Hamels and Darvish leave. As a very young and undeveloped pitching staff blows things up to the tune of a 7.00+  team earned run average, we’ll look through MLB box scores in horror.

We’ll see that the Yankees got a seven inning shutout performance from Darvish where he struck out 14. Meanwhile over in the National League, we’ll read about Hamels tossing his second (and a half) career no-hitter with the Dodgers. He’ll end up there because he’s a Southern California guy. He won’t venture off in a trade and then come back to Texas after they’ve let him go. He’ll go back home to play the back end of his career, much like the great Nolan Ryan did.

Meanwhile, with hopes still high about “prospects” and “potential,” they’ll go to some minor league box scores. But they’ll be further disappointed to see that the young lefty obtained at the previous deadline is having command issues. They’ll read about the 20 year-old getting shelled in A-ball for eight runs in two innings with six walks.

And as those crying to send Darvish and Hamels off look through these scoresheets, a single tear will go down their cheek. They’ll suck it in and take to the keyboards and utter words like, “It’s okay. We’re building something here.” They’ll pretend that hope for the future is worth more than a proven track record.

The past will haunt us

Remember the wise proverb of “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” It’s an old hunting adage. What it means is, you’d rather have one bird that you’ve already caught than risk it all to shoot the two sitting in the bushes. Don’t look beyond what you already have that’s proven, to seek something that MAY be worth more later. That “may” isn’t guaranteed.

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In this case, the Rangers have two birds in hand. They have two of the league’s top tier pitchers. They should build around them and sell off other parts to bring in youth. We’re not talking about washed up 38 year-olds here. Hamels and Darvish are 33 and 31, respectively. If they get traded for prospects, there are no guarantees. In the end, we could be left with less than we had before. And then, the whole cycle would just start over again.