July 7, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Zack Greinke (13) leaves the field after being ejected against the Houston Astros in the first inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE
The Rangers held on to their trump card and allowed Zack Greinke to go to their fiercest rivals. Oh well.
Eh, who cares?
No, really. That's not false bravado, that's not trying to rally the fan base, and that's not denial.
The Angels made themselves better with a deal that makes some sense to them. Topping that deal made borderline sense -- at best -- to the Rangers. We should be ambivalent at worst, perhaps even happy.
Topping the Angels would have taken giving up one of two big prospects.
I just made the argument a week ago that three months of Greinke -- with no compensation picks -- was not worth surrendering the entire future of Olt, and I surely have no reason to back down from that stance now that Jon Daniels agrees with me.
Now, Ken Rosenthal suggests it did not necessarily need to be Olt.
Perez's stock has dropped below that of Olt's, but -- particularly with some strong starts in the Majors -- he is still a very premier prospect worth a lot in trade value. I would not have spent hundreds of words arguing against dealing Perez for Greinke, but if Daniels says he isn't I have trouble disagreeing. Given the future state of the Texas rotation, he seems to have a good point.
So now you know what you would be without if Zack Greinke was a Texas Ranger today: Mike Olt, or Martin Perez. The Rangers do have a great opportunity to win now, but the best way to win a pennant is to return to the post season as often as you can. Rarely is a team set up as well as Texas is to do that. They already have potentially the strongest squad in Major League Baseball right now, increasing revenue flows, and an incredibly strong farm system. That doesn't mean they shouldn't ever be looking to improve with mid-season trades -- that's half the value of prospects, after all. What it does mean is they have no need to make desperation moves, and dumping Perez/Olt for a rental -- even a rental as strong as Greinke -- would be bordering on desperation.
Notice bordering used because no one should be told they're an idiot for disagreeing. If you wanted Greinke and you were willing to give up Perez/Olt, you may in fact have been the correct party, but you should at the very least accept Daniels refusal to part with an elite prospect for him as nothing worth panicking about.
The Angels, meanwhile, do have reason to be desperate. They are a strong team with a lot of money invested in trying to win now. They have young talent in guys like Mike Trout, but they also have money invested in aging players like Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson, and Vernon Wells (yes, one of these things is not like the others), and lack the farm Texas sports. Their window probably doesn't shut in 2013, but it's not quite as wide open as their supposed counterparts.
So, they ended up giving up a lot. Jean Segura is not quite on the level of Olt, or maybe even Perez, but he is still a strong prospect, ranked 55th in the nation by Baseball America before the year began. That's about what two months of a very good pitcher would have been worth in the days of compensation picks -- if not a little bit of a steal -- but now it is definitely pushing it. That's not to say this is an insane deal by the Angels, but it is one that damages their long term health a touch, and that is something that should make a Rangers fan happy.
Meanwhile, as far as how much it should worry Rangers fans about the now, I think the always-astute Colin Wyers covers that pretty well.
I hear quite a few people talking about the Angels' trade as it relates to Texas; isn't Oakland a bigger concern for them right now?— Colin Wyers (@cwyers) July 28, 2012
Yeah, that's about right. The Rangers are up four games on the Angels. Baseball Prospectus began yesterday giving Texas the division 86% of the time from where they sit. Texas is the better team, and sitting on a huge lead, despite not playing their best for the entire season.
Could the lead get so close that Greinke ends up making the difference? Sure, it's possible, just extremely unlikely. But to be particularly worried, you'd have to expect the Angels are not just as good as the Rangers, but likely to play a few games better than Texas down the stretch before the addition of Greinke. As it is, BP had Texas winning the division by seven games. Greinke is not worth nearly that much over Jerome Williams.
It doesn't even make LA a whole lot more scary in the postseason, either. Outside of injury, the worst part of their playoff rotation was going to be Ervin Santana. That's a nice improvement, but nothing huge. It might make October slightly scarier, but October is scary, anyway. The Angels aren't suddenly the favorites because they've replaced Santana with Greinke.
It's entirely possible for a move to make some sense for your rivals and to still be okay with it. This should be one of those cases. Yeah, Greinke would have looked gorgeous in a Texas uniform, but if a smart front office thinks a deal that looks bad on paper is not worth doing, there is not a whole lot to question. If the division looked closer, maybe you overspend to keep Greinke out of their hands, but that's not the case here.
So, whatever. Zack Greinke is an Angel. That rotation is scary good, and facing them will be a little less fun. That is about all there is to be upset about.