With the passing of each uninspiring performance by the Texas Rangers, such as Sunday’s 10-0 loss to the Astros and Monday’s loss to the last-place Colorado Rockies, it becomes clear that Jon Daniels should be trying to have the baseball equivalent of a garage sale in between now and the July, 31 trade deadline.
The team is 8.5 games back in the division and 7 games out of the second wild card spot. Thus, it is becoming clear that there will be no post-season baseball in Arlington this year so the focus must turn to building for next year and beyond.
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Like with any garage sale, the Rangers will be unable to get rid of everything they’d like to. However, they do have a few assets other teams may covet which could bring a nice return.
Let’s begin with what they can almost certainly get rid of. It is almost certain that starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo will be traded to a team in contention and he could bring a nice group of prospects in return. The 29 year-old Ft. Worth native is having a fantastic season despite his 7-9 record.
His ERA is 2.91 and he recently had a streak of 33.1 scoreless innings. Teams such as the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers and the Tampa Bay Rays are all teams that might be interested in acquiring a starting pitcher (and remember that Texas and Detroit have traded with each other twice in the past two years).
Another player the Rangers could get value for is first baseman Mitch Moreland. The left-handed power hitter leads Texas with 16 homers to go with his 46 RBI.
The Rangers’ lineup is too left-handed and by trading Moreland, right-handed youngster Ryan Rua would have an opportunity for more plate appearances allowing the team to evaluate him for the final two months of the year.
Moreland comes cheap, with a 2015 salary under $3 million so he might be of high interest to teams like the Minnesota Twins (which might use Moreland in the outfield) or the Chicago Cubs which need more offense. However, the Rangers would be best served if they could move two players that are not living up to their contracts.
Like a 1970’s era couch with lampshade fabric and two broken legs, the Rangers would love to get rid of the contract of shortstop Elvis Andrus. The problem is that unlike the couch that can just be thrown in the city dump, Texas will need help to get rid of this contract.
Andrus seems to have plateaued in Arlington. His .247 average, 3 home runs and 27 RBI do not justify the $15 million he is making this year.
To make matters worse, Andrus is signed through 2022 at his current salary for the next five years remains $15 million per year and $14 million for the final two years. Teams like the Yankees or the New York Mets need a shortstop but it is hard to imagine any team taking on Andrus’ full contract meaning Texas would have to be willing to pay at least half of his remaining money to move him.
Doing so might be worth the cost in order to slide Rougned Odor to shortstop and let Hanser Alberto and a hopefully healthy Jurickson Profar compete for the 2016 job at second base if a suitable free agent second baseman is not available. This move would dramatically reduce the Rangers’ payroll giving them off season financial flexibility.
Right fielder, Shin-Soo Choo’s contract is perhaps even more unsightly than Andrus’. Like your grandfather’s old recliner that has been worn down to the point that the springs are poking through the seat and the frame is sagging, Choo’s tenure in Arlington has been an eyesore.
Manager Jeff Banister has now benched the man given a 7-year, $130 million contract prior to last season, when the team faces left-handed starters. Again, no general manager in the world would take on Choo’s massive contract which will extend into his late 30’s so Texas will have to pay to rid themselves of the contract that must be considered one of the worst in Rangers’ history.
Again, ridding themselves of Choo would send a left-handed hitter out of the lineup and give the Rangers a chance to see if Leonys Martin can find himself in the final two months of the season or if they need to find another outfielder in the offseason. Choo’s .232 average is paltry but his experience in the National League, where he was most successful when playing for the Cincinnati Reds and his ability to hit for power might make him a bench luxury for a team with deep pockets.
Texas might also entertain offers for third-baseman Adrian Beltre but it would be unwise to trade him this year. Despite the fact that he is the team’s only power bat from the right side, the thumb injury he’s played with for the last two months has deflated his stats and trading him now would be selling low.
Rangers’ fans need to come to grips with the fact that for the third consecutive year, the team will miss the playoffs. Meanwhile, Jon Daniels must listen to calls about any player on his roster.
No one on the team is untouchable and it’s time to let the rest of the majors dig through the rubble of this team’s roster to see if they can find anything they might want to try to salvage.