GM Mode: Texas Rangers Opt to Sell High on Mike Minor

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 04: Mike Minor #36 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Houston Astros at Globe Life Park in Arlington on July 4, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 04: Mike Minor #36 of the Texas Rangers throws against the Houston Astros at Globe Life Park in Arlington on July 4, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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The Texas Rangers currently find themselves three games out of the second wild card spot, and have only won four of their last 12 games. With the way Mike Minor has been trending downward a bit over his last two starts, the Rangers may want to deal him before teams start to lower their offers.

Over the last 9.1 innings for the Texas Rangers, Mike Minor, he has struggled by allowing seven runs and walks over the span. It’s likely just a blip in his stats, given that these past two games have been two of just a handful of bad starts. The first of the two came against the Angels in an emotional game after the tragic passing of Tyler Skaggs, and a complete game he threw. While the second was a start after ten days off. Minor’s next start, likely against the Astros again in Houston, will be very important to how he is going to be assessed as a trade target. If he struggles again, his value will likely drop significantly, but if he dazzles, it should increase to one that will probably command a haul of a top 50 prospect, a top 100 prospect, and possibly even another in return.

Jon Daniels did say that he isn’t expecting to trade Mike Minor, but with this trade haul, it would make a lot of sense for the Texas Rangers to make this deal with the Atlanta Braves, as the Rangers can acquire players that can help them in the future, and likely be in the majors next season.

What the Rangers Receive

In the deal, the Texas Rangers would snag MLB.com’s ranked 3rd, 6th, and 18th prospects from the Braves.

Coming into the season, MLB.com had Ian Anderson ranked as the 26th best prospect in baseball, and the 21 year-old has been terrific so far this year in AA with a 2.91 ERA in 18 starts and 119 strikeouts. Anderson would likely be ready to compete for a spot in the rotation next season, and with the Rangers, he could possibly receive an opportunity later this season.

The sixth ranked prospect from the Braves, 21 year-old William Contreras, is the younger brother of Cubs star catcher, Willson Contreras. He makes solid contact, and has the makings to be a solid catcher one day. He doesn’t strike out very often (61 across 77 games). He hit .263 in A+ ball this year, but in the 27 games since his promotion to AA, he has struggled, just hitting .160.

The Rangers could (and probably should) be interested in acquiring a young catcher if they sell. They haven’t quite had the best luck of developing any since Pudge (aside from Mike Napoli’s short run), and Contreras could be their catcher of the future.

The final piece that the Rangers would receive, Tucker Davidson, is a 23 year-old lefty on their AA team. He has put together a very good season. Across 17 starts, he has pieced together a 2.23 ERA with 95 strikeouts in 84.2 innings. His BB/9 ratio is a bit high, but he has done a good job of not letting the walks come back to hurt him, and he has only allowed three home runs this season.

Davidson is viewed as a player that can possibly stay in the rotation long-term, or become a member of the bullpen.

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What the Braves Receive

The Atlanta Braves would receive Mike Minor, who has been one of the biggest surprises on the mound in baseball, and is among the MLB leaders in WAR (going off baseball reference). Minor has posted a 2.73 ERA this year, and he could lower it even more in the NL, because of their lack of a DH. Minor was also a former 1st round pick of the Braves, and spent the first five seasons of his professional career with them.

Another piece that the Braves would receive is Shawn Kelley, who has quietly put together a terrific season for the Texas Rangers out of the bullpen, with a 3.00 ERA and 11 saves across 33 innings.

A huge perk for the Braves is that both of these players have club options for next season, so they wouldn’t be the typical rental that a lot of teams make at the trade deadline, and they are also signed to extremely reasonable contracts. Mike Minor is owed a little over $9.8 million for next season, while Shawn Kelley is owed $2.5 million for 2020.

The Braves are also a very prospect rich team, in that they have a plethora of young talent not only under control in the majors, but ready (or nearly ready) to play in the majors. They are in an excellent position to be buyers at the deadline in that they have a lot of capital that they can deal to improve whatever areas they deem as weak on their MLB squad.

In this move, the Texas Rangers would essentially give up on making the post season, in order to receive a terrific haul from the Atlanta Braves. And the Braves would give up some of the prospects in order to receive two veteran members that can help bring an edge to both their rotation, and their pitching staff.

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