Ok....the Gunslinger DID say that while tempted, the smart thing is to be a realist and he would wait. But we all know how easy it is to get caught up in these situations. The spector of the team making an ill advised trade to get a marginal player that won't put them over the top is pretty high right now actually. They are only another 3 or 4 straight wins away from the illusion of being good enough to contend for the pennant.
I have what I think is a better strategy. When I say this, I must first acknowledge that there were two things I criticized KT for the most during the off season. The first was the Reynolds trade and attendant signing of Putz. The second was the hoarding of aging, average at best veterans like Mora, Nady & Branyan. It appears that I was wrong about the Reynolds trade, and the subsequent allocation of the money saved into JJ Putz. Of course that could change quickly. Hernandez has been effective, but he's also walked too many guys, and that could catch up to him. But he has gotten a lot of big outs and been dominating doing it. Putz has always been a good pitcher when healthy. It remains to be seen if he can make 60 appearances. But that gamble appears to be paying off. So I want to acknowledge of the two things I criticized KT for during the offseason the most, he is coming up smelling like a rose on one of them.
On the issue of the aging oft injured veteran bench.......it's smelling like......something other than a rose.
Nady, Branyan, and Mora have OPS+ of 81,71, & 60 respectively while taking up a combined 226 PA's so far.
And their "veteraness" has had no tangible positive effect either. They are a combined 4 for 31 with 3 RBI in Pinch Hit situations.
They are a combined 10 for 50 with 1 HR , 3 walks, and 13 K's in "High Leverage" situations.
Now many of us preach patience, and the dangers of making evaluations based on small sample sizes. I concede that it's likely that all 3 of these players are somewhat better than their performance to date. However, it's also possible they are not. Mora is VERY old. And while Nady and Branyan aren't quite as ancient as Mora according to their birth certificates, their bodies may be. Even if they perform somewhat better going forward, what is the upside here ? That they can somehow get to 90 OPS+ as a group ? Are any of them likely to bring any defensive value to the table ? Mora maybe, although he's surely lost 2 steps afield. Nady and Branyan are simply poor defensive players at this stage in their careers.
At the risk of disrupting team "Chemisty", it seems close to the time to be making a move. And here is what I suggest:
Before KT goes off and sells young talent to go get another starter or another bat to "make a run"......remove some of this dead wood from the roster and call up some younger players, and see what you have. Guys like Allen, Cowgill, Gillespie, or even Willy Mo in Reno, or of course Goldschmidt in Mobile can't possibly be any worse off the bench than these 3 veterans have been.
The upside is not only might that they be better than the 3 guys I'm suggesting they replace, helping fuel a push towards contention, but you also have the chance to get some major league chops for these guys, increasing THEIR trade value. The key to trading young talent is to at least have a surplus. Right now they don't know what they have.
If the young guys perform over the next month, and the team is over .500 and in contention, than you have the best of both worlds. If you want to add a pitcher, you will have at least gotten to that point with a team that can "bridge to the future"
Whats the downside ? That the young guys put up 70-80 OPS+ and can't hit in the clutch ? We already have that covered.