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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Rangers Rookie of the Year?

You hear Rangers Rookie of the Year and who do you think of? The first name to come to mind is Ian Kinsler. Perhaps John Koronka and John Rheinecker are given consideration based on the fact they have helped keep this team in a pennant race as Padilla and Millwood struggled early in the season.

Or maybe you made the mistake of thinking the Rangers Rookie of the Year has even played an inning this season. Probably, you should look in the front office, behind the door where a man named Jon Daniels sits.

Consider what he's done. Got the Millwood deal done. Traded castoff Ricardo Rodriguez for Vicente Padilla. Brought in Koronka and Rheinecker for Juan Dominguez. Had the guts to trade Chris Young and two others for Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka. The Rangers are dead this season without Otsuka. And Eaton, ignoring tonight's box score, may be a savior of sorts for this team.

What's that you say? He traded fan and clubhouse favorite Dellucci and all he got was a pitcher who couldn't stay on the major league club this season. Keep in mind the deal was made in desperation after Adam Eaton got hurt and Robinson Tejada has a future.

Besides, the only thing that makes this trade look bad is that abysmal Alfonso Soriano trade. Need another big bat? He would have been nice. Instead, we have Brad "The Whif" Wilkerson, the k-loving lefty Buck Showalter likes to play at DH from time to time.

But a rookie will make mistakes. And yet, in one year, he's made more positive moves than his predecessor made in his entire tenure with the Rangers.

But Soriano was a major blunder, like throwing an interception in the red zone down a field goal with under two minutes to play. Like popping up when a ground ball scores the winning run. Can he really be Rookie of the Year?

Rest assured, Kinsler has a step on him, but is slumping right now. But Daniels in his bowl week. It's the last few days before the trading deadline. The needs are well documented: a big bat, a starter, and maybe a reliever. Hicks has said his wallet is open. Daniels responsibility is to spend wisely.

Does Daniels mortgage the future to get a starter and and bat which could cost a couple of your top young pitching prospects? Does Daniels play it safe, make a small move hoping for the best, and count on this team next year?

I like the guy, so here's a few tips:

1) Shop Blalock, instead of Mench- Mench is heating up while Hank has once again quit Hammering in the second half.

2) Get rid of Wilkerson- Buck loves to play The Whif. Sell him for a bag of mound dirt so he no longer has the temptation.

3) Be patient-Remember you have at least two young guys in Danks and Volquez ready to compete for next year's rotation. Make these guys off limits unless you get stars in return, i.e. Carlos Lee or Freddy Garcia.

4) Be the Anti-Hart- John Hart showed little heart at the deadline. Rarely made moves and, when he did, they were of no impact. Maintain the persona established in this first season as general manager. Be the agressor and steal someone else's players when their guard is down.

If Daniels follows these steps this team will take the next step. They will move beyond competing with good teams and hovering around .500. They will become a team that competes with the elites and makes the playoffs. Then, he is a shoe-in. He will be the 2006 Rangers Rookie of the Year. Sorry, Ian.

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