With the Major League Baseball trade deadline quickly approaching, rumors about the Texas Rangers are flying around the Internet. Will the Rangers make a big splash by this Friday or will they stand pat?
According to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, the Rangers and Dodgers are the frontrunners to land Philadelphia Phillies’ left-handed starter Cole Hamels. What makes Hamels intriguing is the fact that he is not a free agent after this season as is the Kansas City Royal’s new starting pitcher Johnny Cueto is.
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Rather, Hamels is under contract for the next three seasons, which will take him to age 34. Therefore, if Texas trades for Hamels and still fails to make the playoffs this year, the move would not be wasted because the Rangers would have an ace at the top of their rotation for the next three seasons.
Within the past 24 hours, another team has expressed interest in Hamels. The Arizona Diamondbacks view Hamels as a piece to build around for the future but Hamels has Arizona on his no-trade list meaning he would have to wave that provision in his contract if he is to be traded to the D-Backs.
On ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” show, Buster Olney said that the Phillies are “really interested” in some of the Rangers’ prospects. Specifically, Olney mentioned minor league catcher Jorge Alfaro who is currently in AA with the Frisco Roughriders.
Olney also said that the Dodgers are refusing to put their top two prospects on the table enhancing the Rangers’ chances of landing Hamels. Olney believes one team will be aggressive enough to close a deal with the Phillies and that team is most likely to be the Rangers.
Meanwhile, Jeff Wilson of The Ft. Worth Star Telegram is reporting that Texas is insisting on a packaged with the Phillies that does not include AAA 3rd baseman Joey Gallo and AA outfielder Nomar Garza. This likely means that Texas would be willing to part with starting pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez which makes sense if they were to add Hamels. Link
Though other baseball insiders are reporting that the Rangers will consider trading any prospect in their system. However, the quality of the package the Phillies receive will likely depend on how much of Hammel’s contract his current team will agree to pay.
Wilson also writes that Texas is in talks with the San Diego Padres (whose 1st year general manager, A.J. Preller, spent 10 years in the Rangers’ front office meaning he is knowledgeable about the Rangers’ minor league system) about right-handers Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner. Both players are 28 and are under team control past this season. Ross has a 3.45 ERA this season while Cashner’s ERA is 3.93.
Though it appears that Texas is in the buyer’s market, the team is still looking at the possibility of trading starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo who is a free agent after this season. It is possible that Texas could trade the Ft. Worth native for a nice package of prospects and resign him in the off season.
Gallardo has been solid this season and has professed his love of playing in the city where he was raised. Perhaps Gallardo would be willing to take a little less money to play where his family and friends live.
Texas is not eager to trade Gallardo but would consider offers. Teams interested in the Ranger’s best starter this year include the Los Angeles Dodgers (especially if they do not land Hamels), the San Francisco Giants, the New York Yankees, the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
While most of the trade speculation has centered on starting pitching, there are reports that Texas might be interested in adding Milwaukee Brewers’ center fielder Carlos Gomez. Texas wants another right-handed bat and Gonzalez, who is hitting .266 with 8 homers and 46 RBI, fits that bill.
"“The Rangers and Indians are among the clubs that have reached out to the Brewers about Gomez, according to major-league sources,” FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal wrote earlier today. Link"
Finally, Texas could be in the market for a closer and several big names are being floated about as the trade deadline nears. Such players like the Cincinnati Red’s Aroldis Chapman, San Diego’s Craig Kimbrel, the Phillies’ Jonathan Papelbon are squarely on the trading block.
It is going to be an interesting week around baseball. However, it is almost a certainty that the Rangers will be squarely in the middle of the action.
Keep checking in with NolanWritin’.com for any breaking news.