Jon Daniels admits he missed the boat on the Adrian Gonzalez trade

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It’s easy to forget, but at one point the Rangers had Adrian Gonzalez and Mark Teixeira in the same lineup.

Of course, not many thought that Gonzalez would develop into one of the best power hitters in the sport, but the December 2005 trade that sent him to the Padres along with Chris Young and Terrmel Sledge for Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka was a natural topic of conversation as the Rangers played the Red Sox yesterday.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told Alex Speier of WEEI.com that he missed the boat on the trade.

“I know that at the time, when Mark Teixeira was here, it led to a lot of clubs making an assumption that we would trade him, that we wouldn’t be able to keep both of them. We did get some inquiries on him [prior to the San Diego trade,” said Daniels. “We didn’t obviously project him to be the superstar that he’s become. Clearly, had we known that, we would have found a way to make it work. But we thought he was going to be a good player. At a young age, he was always a guy we thought would hit. The question was how much power. He’s matured into one of the better power hitters in the game, clearly.”

His regret about the deal isn’t specifically about Gonzalez, though. Daniels, who became the youngest general manager in baseball history less than three months prior to the trade, confirmed that he miscalculated the Rangers’ chances to contend in the short-term.

“Our error in that was not so much our evaluation of Adrian,” said Daniels. “Our biggest miss in that situation was really our evaluation of our club, where we were competitively and in the division. We thought that there was a window there in ’05-’06 to really push. We won 89 games [in 2004], were a .500 club in ’05, hadn’t made too many changes. Our [front office] group came in in ’05. We probably tried to step on the gas before we were ready. Not probably – we did.”

The Rangers finished the 2006 season in third place at 80-82, 13 games behind the first-place Athletics.

Daniels has had several hits and misses during his tenure as general manager, but that’s the nature of the job, really. He acquired Nelson Cruz from the Brewers before the deadline in 2006, Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus from the Braves in the Mark Teixeira deal in 2007, took a chance with Josh Hamilton before the 2008 season and stunned the baseball world with the Cliff Lee deal last season, a move which led to the franchise’s first ever World Series appearance. All in all, things have worked out pretty well.

Troy Tulowitzki held a workout for eleven clubs

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Yesterday free agent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki held a workout in California and representatives from at least eleven teams were on hand, reports Tim Brown of Yahoo. Among the clubs present: the Giants — who were said to have a “heavy presence,” including team president Farhan Zaidi and manager Bruce Bochy — the Angels, Red Sox, Cubs, Padres, White Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Phillies, Tigers and Pirates.

Your first reaction to that may be “Um, really? For Tulowitzki?” But a moment’s reflection makes it seem more sensible. We’re so tied up in thinking of a player through the filter of their contract and, when we’ve done that with Tulowitzki over the past several years, it has made him seem like an albatross given the $20 million+ a year he was earning to either not play or play rather poorly due to injuries.

It was just the contract that was the albatross, though, right? An almost free Tulowitzki — which he will be given that the Blue Jays are paying him $38 million over the next two seasons — is a different matter. If you sign him it’ll be for almost no real money and he stands a chance to be an average or maybe better-than-average shortstop, which is pretty darn valuable. You might even get one quirky late career return-to-near-glory season from him, in which case you’ve hit the lottery. If, however, as seems more likely, he just can’t get it done at all, you’re not out anything and you can cut him with little or no pain.

Eleven teams think he’s at least a look-see. I bet one of them will offer him a major league deal. Maybe more than one. He’ll probably have his pick of non-roster invites to spring training. I can’t see the downside to at least doing that much.