It’s no wonder the Texas Rangers have been to consecutive World Series and have a club record seven All-Stars when you put Don Welke’s words into perspective.
“We are never satisfied with where we are because we always want to be better. We always want our players to feel that way. That’s a big part of our emphasis,” Welke said during a conversation on Rangers Magazine (ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM).
Welke is the senior special assistant to Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, and it’s a role he’s held since 2006. He previously has worked for Pat Gillick, a baseball executive who last summer was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Welke scouted for Gillick, who put together the back-to-back World Series winners in Toronto (1992/1993).
Welke plays a significant role for Daniels in scouting amateur talent for the June draft as well as this time of year when it comes to scouting possible trade pieces.
“We talk about different possibilities, different players. Try to be thorough in all regards ... regarding scouting pro: major league, minor league. I will be out seeing some guys that we might pinpoint as possibilities,” Welke said. “The trade type thing to me is we’ve got to have the player they want. We had Edinson Volquez, [the Cincinnati Reds] wanted him bad. We wanted Josh [Hamilton] bad of course, but we had the player they wanted. We had Justin Smoak, and [the Seattle Mariners] wanted him, so we got Cliff Lee. Those trade things are interesting the way they shake down, and we just try to be thorough.”
It is interesting. The Lee deal was made knowing that he would be a free agent after that 2010 season, but the Rangers would get draft picks when he didn’t sign and they would have reliever Mark Lowe beyond that season. Last year, the Rangers made trades for relievers Mike Adams and Koji Uehara knowing they would have them beyond 2011.
Welke also discussed when he first scouted All-Star Matt Harrison for the Mark Teixeira trade, what led him to recommend the Rangers sign Martin Perez, honoring area scouts, his theory on free agents, the definition of “special,” Josh Hamilton’s talent, his involvement in the June draft, and the shared qualities of Gillick and Daniels. Listen to the podcast for part one of this two-part interview with Welke.