ARLINGTON -- The Trade Deadline came and went and, well ... the Rangers shockingly made just one (1) transaction by the time 5 p.m. CT on Tuesday rolled around.
So, what gives? At the very least, Texas was expected to deal veteran left-handed reliever Matt Moore and the front office was no-doubt listening in on offers for lefty starter Martín Pérez, but sending Matt Bush to the Brewers for utilityman Mark Mathias and a prospect was the lone move of a hectic trade season league-wide.
President of baseball operations Jon Daniels was open about the Rangers’ relative lack of movement, noting they were open to making moves -- whether that was buying or selling -- but they were looking for the right price with where the big league club stands right now.
“Our general intent was to help the club this year, as well as build for the future and really address putting together pieces that could help us win in '23 and beyond and as well as this year,” he explained. “I think how we’ve played here the last couple of weeks and just the nature of the standings, our focus shifted slightly from that to more players that would be here in '23 and beyond.”
It’s definitely worth pointing out that while the Rangers have spent most of 2022 hovering right around .500, on the day of the Deadline, Texas sat at 46-56 and eight games back of the third Wild Card spot.
That wasn't the primary reason for the lack of trades in either direction, but it certainly played a role.
“While we were involved with a few players that would have been, quote unquote, 'rentals,' really our focus was on players that would be here beyond this year,” Daniels added. “And a few of them, we felt we were pretty aggressive on the bidding. In some instances, it got to where we were uncomfortable with some of the evaluations of the players and we decided not to push further. … Obviously, we made the one trade there with Milwaukee and we felt we got really good value there. It was kind of over the line and it made sense for us.”
When it came to potentially selling, Daniels went on to explain that both Pérez and Moore are valuable members of the club, on and off the field, and the club held high standards for return on players of that caliber. It almost goes without saying that the Rangers are more than open to negotiating extensions with both players.
"As you see in the market, the players on expiring contracts generally get very low returns,” Daniels said. “With Martín and Matt in particular, they are so important to this club that we just felt like we weren't going to be at the whim of the market. We had a lot of dialogue, some got closer to fruition than others. We feel from a long-term standpoint, we're still in really good shape in terms of having the flexibility and the options, financially and with young players, that we want [in the offseason].”
And when it came to potentially buying, Daniels said “instant gratification” would have been nice, but the Rangers are still laying the groundwork to be successful for years to come. Daniels declined to comment on whether Texas talked to the Yankees about former homegrown star Joey Gallo or to the Nationals on Juan Soto, but discussions were active with teams and players across the league.
“There certainly were a couple of key targets that we pursued pretty heavily, really in key areas of need -- primarily starting pitching -- but there were a couple other individual players that we pursued,” Daniels said. “It really just came down to the bid and the ask and got to a point where we were uncomfortable [with the bid and/or ask] that ultimately we decided not to take that next step.”
Time will tell if standing pat at the Deadline was the right move, but one thing is clear: The front office seems to have a plan going forward, at the very least. They’re sticking to it.
First move on the horizon? Starting pitching.
“It'll be our clear top priority,” Daniels said.