Of Elvis Andrus, Mark Teixeira, and the draft.

Coasting to a win like that has been nearly as rare this season for Texas as Draft Day - the Rangers have only five wins of at least five runs, including their last two victories - and while Texas 7, King Felix 1 probably won't even get as much local play as The Strasburg Debut, it showcased several really positive things:

  1. Two of the finest free agents signings anywhere in the league this winter: Colby Lewis and Vladimir Guerrero.
  2. The continuing coming into focus of Justin Smoak, at the plate and around the bag.
  3. A game in which the manager was comfortably able to give Ian Kinsler and Michael Young some late rest.
  4. The best shortstop in the American League.

Elvis Andrus, whose defense I'd take over any other shortstop in the league, whose offense I'd take over any other shortstop in the league, and whose future I'd take over almost any other player in the league, is not only younger than two of the five Rangers prospects who were named Low A South Atlantic League All-Stars this week (outfielder Miguel Velazquez and reliever Trevor Hurley, who were selected along with starters Robbie Ross, Robbie Erlin, and Matt Thompson), but also younger than five of the players the Rangers drafted yesterday.

Think about that.

He's also two years younger than Frisco left-handed reliever Beau Jones, who in 13.1 RoughRider innings has scattered six hits and one walk while striking out 19, and coaxing more groundouts than flyouts.

The Mark Teixeira Trade would have been just fine if it produced Andrus alone. Getting Neftali Feliz as well makes it a landmark deal. Toss in Matt Harrison and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Atlanta's top pitching prospect and top position player prospect at the time, neither of whom we really know about yet, and it's closing in on Herschel Walker Trade status.

If Jones - reportedly added to the deal at the last minute at Jon Daniels's insistence, given a bout of Harrison shoulder soreness following his AA start six days earlier - makes it to Arlington, giving Texas five big leaguers out of five, including Andrus and Feliz, the trade becomes even more extraordinary.

Maybe not 7-4-2-2-0-14 extraordinary, but any general manager would have drafted Stephen Strasburg if they had the number one pick last year. I'm not sure how many front offices would have been able to pull the Teixeira Trade off.

If the drafting on Monday of Jake Skole (first round) and on Tuesday of high school outfielder Jordan Akins (third round), both two-sport college commits, allows Texas to create even more of a budget surplus by amortizing their signing bonuses out over five years, and if some of that surplus can be used at trade deadline time, whether this team is out of bankruptcy by that time or not, the chances are obviously better that this season will extend beyond 162 games that count.

It's going to take playoff baseball - winning playoff baseball - for the Mark Teixeira Trade to share ground with the Herschel Walker Trade.

But that's about all that separates them right now.

Last night's excellent Rangers win included contributions from several former first-round picks (Lewis, Smoak, Josh Hamilton, David Murphy, and Julio Borbon), but there was also a former 17th-rounder (Ian Kinsler) hitting third and an undrafted free agent (Darren O'Day) getting the final three outs.

Whether Texas found another Kinsler in yesterday's second through 30th rounds, or keeps another O'Day from sliding through the draft altogether in today's 31st through 50th, we won't know for a while.

And though we've said it before, as much as I dig the baseball draft, give me a year like this every time, when the draft is incidental to what's going on in Arlington. I'm excited about Skole and Kellin Deglan and Luke Jackson and Cody Buckel and Akins and Justin Grimm and Zack Osborne, not to mention Garrett Buechele (18th round) and the fascinating but likely unsignable Brian Ragira (30th round), who is expected to matriculate from Arlington Martin to Stanford, but my mind is now refocused on C.J. Wilson against Ian Snell, and Tommy Hunter against Ryan Rowland-Smith.

Big thanks to Scott Lucas for his outstanding, instant news flashes on each of the Rangers' first eight draft picks Monday and Tuesday, and to Eleanor Czajka for once again putting together a one-stop information store for the entire Texas draft class on her Minor Details blog (http://minordetails.mlblogs.com/), where you can find player profiles, scouting video, and industry evaluations on each of the Rangers' 2010 picks.

The draft concludes today, after which work on getting the majority of the club's 53 picks signed and ready for short-season game action gets underway.

But in the meantime, there are two more at home against Seattle, with the Angels and A's each within a game of the division lead and facing each other for two more themselves, after which Texas moves into a 15-game stretch against the National League (Milwaukee, Florida, Houston, Pittsburgh, Houston again), a real chance to fatten up against nothing but under-.500 clubs while the Angels get the Dodgers and Rockies and the A's get the Cardinals and Reds over the same two and a half weeks.

I'll be at the Ballpark these next two nights, watching a former fifth-rounder and former supplemental first-rounder take the mound to try and help nail down a series win over the Mariners, with an undrafted kid from Venezuela doing his thing, as he does most nights, at shortstop and atop the order, to make the Rangers' future, tonight and next year and four years from now, something worth investing in.


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(c) Jamey Newberg


Twitter @newbergreport


Jamey Newberg

Dallas attorney Jamey Newberg has been commenting on Rangers from the big club down through the entire farm system since 1998.

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas was born in Arlington, Texas, to Richard and Becky Lucas. He lived mostly in Arlington before moving to Austin, where he graduated from The University of Texas. Scott works for Austin Valuation Consultants, Ltd., and has published several boring articles about real estate appraisal and environmental contamination. He makes a swell margarita and refuses to run longer than ten kilometres.

Eleanor Czajka

Eleanor grew up watching the AAA Mudhens in Toledo, Ohio. A loyal Ranger fan since 1979, she works "behind the scenes" at the Newberg Report.

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