With a list of surprising seasons from Texas Rangers players, the club has plenty to sell, if it so chooses. But how much will other teams value each player on the list?
The 2019 MLB trade deadline is less than two weeks away, which means the Texas Rangers better decide quickly what their approach is. Frankly, to this point, there’s no clear indication whether they’ll be buyers, sellers or admirers. They have several intriguing trade chips, including Mike Minor, Hunter Pence, Lance Lynn and Danny Santana, so selling is a viable option.
All four of those players are having standout seasons; therefore, their trade values are thought to be rather high. What the Rangers will have to determine, however, is whether interested teams value the standouts as much as they do. In other words, the Rangers see gold, but other squads might see it as fool’s gold.
Minor is having an outstanding season, ranking second in the league with a 2.73 ERA and fourth with 122 innings pitched. His 5.9 WAR ranks third in the major leagues, behind only Mike Trout and Cody Bellinger. Texas is going to shop him as an AL Cy Young candidate, which he is, but will interested parties value him the same?
Any team that makes a call on Minor is either in shouting distance of or on pace for a postseason berth. For example, the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies are reportedly interested in him. The organization that wins out would expect Minor to play a crucial role in accomplishing its lofty goals.
The fact that the 31-year-old lefty has not thrown over 160 innings in a season since 2013 could be concerning. He’s already thrown 122 this year, and he’s only 35 shy of his total from 2018. Minor has shown signs of fatigue in recent weeks. He failed to pitch beyond the 5th inning in each of his last two starts, which happened only four times over his first 17 starts. Furthermore, he was held out of the All-Star game at the request of the Rangers, leading to 10 days off between outings before and after the break. Apparently Texas felt the need to slow him down.
Will signs of fatigue deter teams from pursuing him? No, but it might affect how much teams value him, meaning they won’t be willing to give up as much as the Rangers would like. Though, the good news for the Rangers is Mike Minor is under contract through 2020. Thus, suitors may give grace to any doubts and simply anticipate having a very good pitcher for the rest of this year and all of next year.
Doubt could get in the way of other Rangers being dealt as well. Look at the way Danny Santana is playing and you’d assume every team in baseball would want him. Though front offices like to look at track records in order to instill faith that a player’s success can sustain.
Currently hitting .313 with an .895 OPS, Santana hasn’t had anything close to a season like this since his rookie year with the Minnesota Twins in 2014. Just last year, he played in only 15 big league games, spending the majority of the time at Triple-A with the Atlanta Braves.
He’s under team control through 2021, so a team that acquires him would get to keep him for a while. That could be a great thing if he keeps playing the way he has in 2019, but will teams believe he can? The Texas Rangers may sell him as a player who can maintain success, though interested parties might not buy that.
The values of the other two trade chips we mentioned are easier to assess, in my opinion. Hunter Pence was signed to a one-year contract prior to the season, so he would be a rental for any squad that trades for him. For this reason, he would not be seen as any sort of liability. The 36-year-old is hitting the ball very well this year, and that’s all any suitor should care about. If they feel Pence can contribute to postseason success, then they’ll meet the Rangers’ price. The Rangers’ price should be reasonable.
Lance Lynn has never had a season quite like this one; however, he’s always been a workhorse and he hasn’t wavered his approach from years past. Teams know what to expect from Lynn, which is why the Texas Rangers will likely receive several calls on him. He is at a respectable age, under a team-friendly contract, and, most importantly, he’s shown no signs of wear and tear since his Tommy John surgery in 2016.
The Texas Rangers shouldn’t have any problems trading these guys if they truly want to. They’ll get the most out of the deals though if they don’t have to do too much convincing. Hopefully interested teams will value Ranger players as much as the Rangers do. We’ll just have to wait and see.