Are the Rangers willing to deal Jose Leclerc?
No. I do not see a Leclerc trade likely whatsoever this offseason. The 25-year-old will need to prove last season was not a fluke before gaining deserved interest. The following is the first run of stats I’ve pinpointed this article, but they are worth the view.
At the conclusion of the 2018 regular season, Leclerc posted a 1.56 ERA, a 0.850 WHIP, averaged 13.3 strikeouts and 0.2 home runs per nine innings, and held opposing hitters to a .126 batting average. He was absolutely phenomenal!
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His dominance makes you think…if the Texas Rangers could land a top 10 prospect for Keone Kela at last year’s trade deadline, what kind of remarkable talent could they land for Leclerc at the 2019 deadline?
That’s when Texas should try to trade him. Chances are he comes out firing again in 2019. Anything close to what he did last year and Leclerc will be one of the top, if not THE top reliever on the trade block. Plus, teams are far more desperate for bullpen help in July than they are in December, January or February.
You can sit there and say, “but Leclerc is so young and such an amazing closer! Why would you trade him?!”. The response is rather straight forward. If the Rangers can get an elite starting pitching prospect or an elite position prospect for a closer, close the deal.
Leclerc is great, but elite starting pitchers are fewer and farther between than elite closers. Ultimately, Leclerc will begin the year with the Texas Rangers, but don’t be surprised if he’s traded by the end of July.