Here’s the part I really don’t get: on July 31, the Texas Rangers traded away Yu Darvish. A month later, they resisted swapping home series with the Houston Astros because it might hurt their playoff chances.
Sorry, but I see some inconsistency there.
In case you missed it, the Astros and Rangers had to move their scheduled series out of Houston this week due to the damage wrought by Harvey in Texas over the last several days. The series is currently being played in Tampa. The Astros proposed swapping series with the Rangers — the teams are scheduled to play in Arlington at the end of the season — but doing so would have resulted in the Rangers playing a 12-game road trip.
So the Rangers said no.
“I say that kind of cringing, honestly, because it pales in comparison to the true-life challenges a lot of people are facing right now with the weather down there,” even Rangers general manager, Jon Daniels, admitted to reporters. “I say that with being very much aware of the contrast of what’s really going on.”
But it still feels wrong, and it still looks like garbage.
Business is business, of course, and there is no absolute. If the Texas Rangers think they will hurt their playoff chances by playing a road series in Houston during the final days of September, then fine. But they’re lying to themselves. The Rangers still have a losing record today — and they have played a whopping 131 games of their schedule. They have shown no real ability to make a run of any kind. They have been the consummate phantom team, average, at best, in pitching and unable to score when taken out of their launching pad of a home stadium.
The Rangers might have used this opportunity to do the right thing, showing compassion for their brethren in Houston — and we’re talking about the city’s residents, not the Astros — and issued a stern statement in the process. We believe we can make the playoffs, anyway — and we intend to. Home or road. It doesn’t matter. Instead, they’re relying on the schedule to make up for their obvious deficiencies.
And here’s the worst part: the Rangers have already admitted they aren’t good enough. That’s why they traded Darvish, regardless of whether his contract is up. The Kansas City Royals have a host of players up for free agency at the end of the season, but the Royals held onto them because they believe they can make the playoffs. And the Royals actually won a World Series two years ago, which means their fanbase would have been more tolerant of a midseason bake sale.
But the Rangers? They want it both ways. They want to sell a guy like Darvish at the deadline, gather the prospects and tell their fans they’re still in it. What utter nonsense.
At the very least, the Rangers missed an opportunity here. They could have done the right thing. They could have told their players they believe in them, no matter their road record to this point. And they could have been a great story if they made the playoffs anyway.
Instead, with their own general manager “cringing,” they held their ground at a time when they could have gained so much by just giving a little.
Tony Massarotti is an avid Boston sports fan and has covered sports in Boston for more than 15 years for both the Boston Herald and Boston Globe. He now serves as a co-host on afternoon drive on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. He was a two-time Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year as voted by his peers and has written four books, including “Big Papi,” the New York Times-bestselling memoirs of David Ortiz. You can follow Tony @tonymassarotti.