Texas Rangers Mailbag: Are Trades On the Horizon?
By Jason Burke
After last night’s game in Tampa, I asked people on our Facebook page if they had any questions about the Texas Rangers they’d like answered. A couple people chimed in, and one question in particular has no simple answer: Should the Rangers regroup and trade Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and Mitch Moreland?
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There is a lot at play when contemplating trading these four players. The biggest issue will be contracts. Mitch Moreland ($2.95M), Neftali Feliz ($4.125M) and Adrian Beltre ($16M this season, $18M next) are all free agents after the 2016 season. Andrus is signed thru 2022 and has lots of money coming his way. It would be next to impossible for the team to unload his contract at this point since he has yet to develop quite as the Rangers has hoped.
Personally, I’m not a fan of trading Moreland for a couple of reasons. The Rangers likely wouldn’t receive much in return for Mitch, and his potential value to the team far outweighs his contract. When he becomes a free agent the team can make an official decision on him, but for now I like his solid defense at first while allowing Prince Fielder some off days. Unless he is engulfed in flames near the trade deadline, I don’t see him being moved.
Feliz has only totaled 91 1/3 innings since 2011 and is off to a rocky start this year, holding a 4.38 ERA. In his last three appearances, however, he’s worked three innings and allowed just two hits while striking out five. If he has turned a corner and can put together a solid couple of months, Feliz could definitely be on the move at the deadline. One area that teams are always trying to improve upon down the stretch run is their bullpen (ahem, Tigers) and a streaking Feliz could draw some attention.
In return for the righty the Rangers may be able to work a minor leaguer or two that would be major league ready and could help Texas turn things around sooner rather than later.
Then comes arguably the Rangers most valuable asset: Beltre. If he were to be traded at the deadline, that would give his new team a year and a half’s worth of time with the ageless wonder, which would up the ante on the return. While some may look at the 36 year old with some skepticism in the coming years, Jon Daniels can point to the fact that he’s finished somewhere in the MVP voting each of the past five seasons, on top of having Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards sprinkled in.
He’s hit for an average of .320 over the past three seasons while hitting an average of 28 homers and driving in 90 each year. That is production you just won’t find most places. To have him available at the deadline should have teams licking their chops, and in a perfect world, outbidding one another to acquire his services.
The return could be one of a few options, with Texas either going after a large package of prospects to fill a lot of holes, or to go after a couple of very talented guys that could fill the team’s biggest areas of need. With Joey Gallo getting closer and closer to Arlington, Beltre’s time will come to an end at some point whether we like it or not. Assuming Gallo isn’t ready for his debut in July, Adam Rosales could man third for a spell to buy some time.
I would be surprised if the Texas Rangers didn’t trade at least Beltre during the season. With Yu Darvish out, there is a large crater atop the rotation (not you, Nick Martinez), which means that the team should be more focused on the near future when he returns. Trading Beltre makes sense in the overall scheme of things, but the fans will be none to pleased if this deal does go down.
Hope I answered your question John! If anyone else has some questions for me, you can either ask us on our Facebook page (linked above), @NolanWritinFS or myself @baseballmiamor.