For years, I’ve been saying that the Rangers should make the Marlins an offer they can’t refuse for Dontrelle Willis. At only 25, Dontrelle is THE premiere young-but-developed lefty in the game today. The Rangers need a lefty. In his column today, Ken Rosenthal mentions that now that Mark Buehrle is off the market, the D-Train’s value hasn’t been higher in some time, which could open the Marlins’ ears to trade offers.
The same was said last season. And I have to believe that if Little Jon DanielsHart had put a package together out of some combination of John Danks, Fransisco Cordero, Laynce Nix, Kevin Mench, Nick Masset and Jacob Rasner, Willis would be a Texas Ranger right now. Instead, we have McCarthy and Cruz left from deals that sent those guys packing. Wouldn’t you gladly take Willis for as many as four from that list and not have McCarthy or Cruz?
Before you accuse me of using hindsight that’s 20/20 – I said this last year, in repeated posts on T.R Sullivan’s blog and elsewhere. When the Rangers didn’t try and the Marlins pulled back from shopping Willis, I suggested the Rangers turn their eye toward acquiring the next-best, developed young attainable lefty – Mark Buerhle (who they had and missed a chance to get).
It’s rare to get a second chance. If the Marlins’ door is even slightly cracked open, Hicks and Daniels ought to kick it in with whatever it takes. They should go “All In” if they have to.
Seriously, if it takes sending the entire Oklahoma Red Hawks roster to the Marlins to get Willis, that’s what the Rangers should do. I truly believe that they’d be more successful over the next 5-7 years with Willis (assuming they resign Dontrelle after 2009 and he stays healthy for most of that time) than they would be with all of the prospects they have at AAA (maybe 3-5 of whom will ever make any meaningful contribution to the Rangers).
OK, that’s nuts, and I am exaggerating to make a point. But if it took packaging Hurley, Rupe and Botts – I’d do it in a heartbeat. Botts would be the hardest to let go of, but the Rangers don’t seem to want to bring him up anyways. Hurley and Rupe – they’re still prospects. We have NO idea what will become of them, but history shows the odds are stacked against them ever developing their full potential as Rangers or in The Ballpark. A bird in the hand is worth two prospects in the bush leagues – easily.
In fact, that offer may not be enough for the Marlins. OK. We’ll throw in Tex (we’ll pay 30% of his salary next season) and the Marlins’ choice of Cruz, Tejeda or Kasey Kiker but they have to throw in Mike Jacobs.
Many say Willis is over-rated. He does need to do better against righties, but he would immediately be the Rangers’ ace… head and shoulders better than any pitcher they’ve had this millenium. He’d make the entire rotation better by pushing Millwood to #2, lowering the need to sign a free agent this winter from a top-of-the-rotation guy to a mid-rotation winner, while McCarthy, Loe, Padilla, Volquez, Wright, Wood and Mendoza compete for the last two spots.