GM Mode: Texas Rangers Make a Deal With Old Rival Toronto Blue Jays
By Cody Smith
As June is quickly wrapping up, the Texas Rangers have found themselves in a very good situation, sitting at 45-36 with a 0.5 game lead in the second Wild Card spot, and a series against the first Wild Card team this weekend. Meanwhile, the Toronto Blue Jays are 16 games out of the Wild Card spot, and could possibly look to sell some players.
The Texas Rangers are likely still in the market for a fifth starter, despite Jesse Chavez looking really good in his start on Tuesday. Since a horrible start to the season, Chavez has been exceptional, but would probably be more valuable to the bullpen if the Rangers can make this trade happen.
Up north, the Blue Jays are continuing a rebuild, and it is looking more and more likely that they are going to part ways with Marcus Stroman. Stroman, 28, is in the midst of one of the best seasons of his career, posting a 5-9 record with a 3.04 ERA. Stroman isn’t a player that is going to overpower batters and get a lot of strikeouts, but he has been very good throughout his career, with the exception of an injury-riddled 2018 season. Outside of 2018, Stroman has never posted an ERA above a 4.40.
According to our friends at Jays Journal, they believe that Toronto “would prioritize pitching in return, and likely the outfield as well.” Luckily for the Texas Rangers, they have a plethora of outfield prospects and could afford to part with a pitching prospect in order to land Stroman, who won’t be a free agent until 2021.
Making the Deal
This trade makes a lot of sense for both teams. Toronto is in the midst of a rebuild, and both the players they are giving up would be over 30 before the team will likely be competitive again, while they would be receiving three prospects that would fit more in line with their timeline.
For Texas, they would receive two pitchers that have a few more years of club control and can change how the pitching staff is perceived with a top three of Mike Minor, Stroman, and Lance Lynn, with Joe Biagini, Shawn Kelley, and Chris Martin locking it down late.
Despite not being very effective in 2017 and 2018, Biagini, 29, has turned it around this year with a 3.63 ERA across 34.2 innings. He is also under club control until 2023.
Rangers Get Marcus Stroman and Joe Biagini
Getting this deal done likely makes the Texas Rangers a favorite for a wild card spot, as two of their biggest weaknesses will be taken care of. Texas has a rough final month of the season, playing six against the Yankees, three against Tampa Bay, six against Oakland, two in Houston, and three against Boston. Acquiring both Stroman and Biagini would tremendously help the pitching staff over that brutal final month.
It may also be tough for the club to part with their 4th, 8th, and 27th prospect according to MLB Prospect Watch, but the currently crowded outfield of Nomar Mazara, Shin-Soo Choo, Joey Gallo, Delino Deshields Jr., Willie Calhoun, paired with outfield prospects, Leody Taveras (who was recently promoted to AA), and Bubba Thompson gives Heineman and Martinez both tough paths to the majors, despite their success, and high prospect rankings.
Hernandez is the Rangers 8th prospect and suffers from a similar problem that the outfielders have, as the Rangers currently have a plethora of pitchers at the Double-A level, as well as other big names pitching prospects sprinkled across the minors.
Blue Jays Get Julio Pablo Martinez, Jonathan Hernandez, and Scott Heineman
Heineman could likely jump into the Blue Jays lineup and be given the chance for a starting job in the big leagues, something that he has not been given the opportunity to go after with the Texas Rangers. The Blue Jays would also get the 23-year old Martinez, who can be involved in their future plans, with the 22-year old Hernandez, as both have high potential, and could help a lot in their future rebuild.
It would be wise for the Blue Jays to jump on a deal now, given the inevitability of Stroman trade, and they can likely receive more from a team now, instead of letting the time he’s under club control wind down. Or they could hold onto him, and risk the possibility of losing him in free agency for likely just a draft compensation pick (maybe).
Overall, it makes sense for both teams, as the deal would help Toronto bulk up their weaknesses in the outfield and pitching for the timeline they are on, and it would help the Texas Rangers bulk up their starting rotation and bullpen for their playoff run.