GM Mode: Texas Rangers Make Blockbuster Trevor Bauer Trade

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 07: Trevor Bauer #47 of the Cleveland Indians pitches in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 7, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 07: Trevor Bauer #47 of the Cleveland Indians pitches in the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 7, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Texas Rangers are chasing controllable pitching this year and could find an ace that doesn’t cost too much by way of prospects.

The Texas Rangers find themselves in a weird spot this summer. As a team with low expectations entering the season, the plan was always to be a seller at the trade deadline and the only question is how deep the fire sale would go. But now, sitting over .500 and well within the Wild Card hunt, Texas now has a choice of being a seller or buyer. If they’re a buyer, no doubt they’ll be a conscientious one looking more towards 2020 and beyond than just making a push this season.

Names like Danny Duffy and Matthew Boyd check the starting pitching box as well as the controllable option. However, neither is a frontline starter and Texas could get caught overpaying for a middle of the rotation starter. Noah Syndergaard is a name many Rangers’ fans are intrigued by, but it would take a king’s ransom of prospects to pry him from the dumpster fire that is the New York Mets. But the best option out there for Texas could also be the best option for everybody, Indians ace, Trevor Bauer.

Rangers Get RHP Trevor Bauer

The Indians are a competitive team this season and currently sit 2nd in the AL Wild Card. Despite this, they look increasingly okay with parting ways with ace Trevor Bauer midseason. Bauer, who is making $13,000,000 this season and is arbitration eligible this offseason. Bauer’s arbitration likely is why the Indians are willing to let Bauer leave now as he’ll command a massive number next season and has made it known he wants to hit free agency.

While this isn’t a true long-term option like Boyd or Duffy, Bauer would instantly provide a massive boost to the Rangers competitiveness this season. A 1-2-3 pitching rotation of Bauer, Minor and Lynn would be among the best in baseball and could be a threat in the playoffs. Additionally, he’d help front a rotation in 2020 that could be a part of a legitimately competitive team. Texas is tipped to be among the many suitors for Astros RHP Gerrit Cole this offseason who is due to be a free agent. This would allow Texas to guarantee themselves their number one for 2020 and not face the chances of missing out.

Additionally, if for some reason Texas has serious struggles next season and decides contending isn’t an option, Bauer would instantly become the hottest starting pitcher rental on the trade market. This is a little insurance that could still net Texas some decent prospects if it doesn’t work out.

Indians Get OF Nomar Mazara, LHP Yohander Mendez

The Rangers have been rumored to be willing to part ways with Nomar Mazara dating back to this winter and I think that sentiment still exists. Mazara has improved slightly in 2019 but still hasn’t started to develop into the star the Rangers hoped he would. However, he’s still only 24 and is on pace to put up his 4th straight season of at least a .250 average and .739 OPS at the plate and is trending upwards. We’re basically seeing what his floor as a big league is which is an above-average hitter. He shows flashes of being the slugger his ceiling suggests he could be but the Rangers have a plethora of young outfielders who they could be inclined to give more time to. The Indians reportedly want an MLB-ready outfielder to help bolster one of the worst units in the MLB. Plus, Mazara is also under team control through the 2021 season meaning he can help Cleveland contend for a few more years.

Yohander Mendez is the little sweetener to get this deal over the line and is currently the 26th ranked prospect in the Rangers’ organization according to MLB Prospect Watch. Mendez has been long considered one of the better pitching prospects in Texas’ system. However, some off the field issues and some on-the-field struggles seem to have pushed the Rangers’ to the end of the line with the young left-hander. Mendez had a shot at being a part of the rotation this season but a sprained UCL during Spring Training has kept him out of action all year. He still has the potential of a middle rotation starter but I’d imagine his time in Texas could be coming to an end. He’ll need a 40-man roster spot this offseason and I don’t think the Rangers want to use a spot on him. He’s practically MLB ready which gives the Indians another pitching option for 2020 and beyond. At 24, he still is under team control through 2025 meaning he’s probably worth the risk for another franchise.

Trade Recap

Will this deal happen? Highly unlikely. However, if the values on both sides matchup, it could be a stellar move for the Rangers. Bauer would instantly give them a massive starting rotation boost for 2019 and 2020. It also would allow them to acquire a frontline starter without destroying the farm system which is one of the weakest in baseball.

Mazara’s struggle to develop towards his potential is noted and is causing some frustration amongst fans. He’s defensively sub-par in right field and hasn’t been as advertised at the plate. Long-term I view him as a DH on a team like Texas with so much outfield talent, but I believe Willie Calhoun beats him out as a pure hitter. This move opens up space for some young outfielders to get shots in Arlington while also increasing the at-bats now for Danny Santana and Hunter Pence when he returns from the IL.

If it’s for Bauer or somebody else, don’t be surprised to hear Mazara’ name mentioned regarding a few trade possibilities.