ARLINGTON, Texas — There are no two ways around it. When properly executed, rebuilds will be painful.
Texas Rangers fans suffered a huge blow to morale when president of baseball operations Jon Daniels and the rest of the management team decided to cash in on their largest asset and bring a haul of four prospects to the organization for two-time All-Star slugger Joey Gallo.
The Rangers would not have preferred to trade a homegrown player that turned into a "top-end talent" as Daniels put it. But when it became clear that a contract extension was not in the cards, management decided the best decision for the club was to capitalize on his value.
"We pretty strongly believed trade value would go down after [Friday's deadline]," Daniels said. "So it really felt like this window in the cycle, so to speak, it was our best opportunity from a trade standpoint. We didn't want to miss that without knowing that we had real headway to reach an agreement. We felt it was very unlikely. It certainly wasn't going to happen right now."
Regarding negotiations for a contract extension, Daniels said the club and Gallo's camp "were not in the same range." One source tells InsideTheRangers.com that at least one offer made to Gallo was valued around $85 million. The length of that deal is still unknown, but based on a report by Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News, it seems like the Rangers were not going to offer more than five years to Gallo.
Gallo's agent Scott Boras is notorious for getting his clients longer deals. The last extension the Rangers and Boras agreed to for an All-Star player on the verge of hitting free agency for the first time was Elvis Andrus, and it took an eight-year deal to keep him in a Rangers uniform.
But the Rangers were in the middle of a contention window when they inked Andrus to an extension. Now, the Rangers are fully committed to a rebuild. Daniels made this known in his meeting with the media on Thursday, using that dreaded r-word on a number of occasions.
"When you talk about rebuilding, there can't be any half-measures," Daniels said. "If you're going to embrace that, you have to be realistic about what the options are. That's why it was very clear to us: It was either an extension or a trade.
"Both were strong considerations. Both got a lot of time internally. When we got a chance to get four players of this caliber — three that can be everyday bats in the big leagues and a potential starting pitcher, and the extension wasn't likely at this point in time — we didn't want to pass that up."
Daniels also revealed the only way the Rangers were going to hold onto Gallo past the deadline this year was if the current team made a surprise run at contending. Clearly, that has not happened. And with just one more season of club control remaining, the Rangers had to think about what move would best aid them for the next time they go all in toward contention.
"If we would have run out the clock, with where we're at in the standings right now, [holding onto Joey Gallo] doesn't make a whole lot of sense," Daniels said. "And that's what our fans would be upset about.
"When we are rebuilding and in last place with a lot of work to do, if a player — based on their contractual status — is not going to be here when we really believe we're going to do something special, our options are either going to consider a trade or to run out the clock. And running out the clock doesn't make a lot of sense in the grand scheme of things."
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With the Rangers now trading away their best player, the biggest question now becomes when the club can realistically contend once again. Daniels, general manager Chris Young and the rest of the management group believe they are on the right track to building something special.
"We have two real assets in terms of putting a championship club back on the field that our fans deserve, our market deserves, our ownership deserves," Daniels said. "One is building an elite farm system. The other is that we don't have much future financial obligations."
Daniels added, "We feel like this accelerated things for us, not the other way around."
With the Gallo trade, the club did significantly deepen their farm system, and they still have two valuable trade pieces available in Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy. Regarding the payroll, the Rangers will be freed up from any major financial obligations after the 2022 season.
The Rangers could even make a play in free agency as early as this winter.
"We don't yet have a formal budget for next year," Daniels said. "It's a little early there, but we expect to be players in free agency as soon as this offseason if it's the right fit."
The future is getting brighter, though the pain of losing a beloved player like Joey Gallo can be a strong deterrent from that. It hurts all parties involved to see a beloved player leave.
Rebuilds can be a slow and painful process. And there can't be any shortcuts just to avoid days like Wednesday.
"Nobody wants to be in the middle," Daniels said. "We were pretty clear this winter that this was a rebuilding year for us. Unfortunately, what that means is it comes with losses at the big league level. And it comes with decisions like we made yesterday.
"Ultimately, I'm pretty confident we will look back this moment time as we're celebrating a division or a World Series that this helped get us there. But as a moment in time, it's part of a rebuild. And that is, just by definition, not a short-term or positive thing for our fans."
More From SI's Inside The Rangers:
- How The Joey Gallo Trade Affects The Rangers' Rebuild
- Rangers Trade Joey Gallo To Yankees For Four Prospects
- Rangers GM Chris Young Helped Make Jack Leiter's Road To Texas 'Extremely Special'
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