As the trade deadline nears, the Texas Rangers’ approach is becoming clearer. Here is everyone who could be rumored over the next nine days.
The Texas Rangers kept us on our toes for as long as they could, but it seems those newfound playoffs hopes are just a mirage. Two months remain in the regular season, though the team has fallen to 6.5 games out of the AL Wild Card after losing eight in a row. The timing couldn’t be worse either, as the ever important trade deadline is just eight days away.
Buyers? Sellers? Do nothing-ers? Those three deadline approaches equaled in likelihood heading into the All-Star break. Now, buying has gone by the wayside, standing pat still seems possible, but selling seems probable.
Perhaps this current slide for the Rangers is a blessing in disguise. Sure the playoff path has sparked excitement, but this is far from a team that’s going to play in the final game of the Major League Baseball season. Even if they make the postseason, conquering the likes of the Yankees or Astros in October just isn’t going to happen. Thus, it’s better to keep the mark on the future rather than the present.
The future doesn’t look as bright as it should. Many of the organization’s high potential minor league arms have suffered lengthy injury setbacks. Joey Gallo has had to carry the young “core” of the major league squad. Of the remaining members, Rougned Odor has been awful, Nomar Mazara has been underwhelming and Willie Calhoun has gone back to the minors.
As farm system rankings parallel with future success/failure, the Texas Rangers’ farm ranks 29th out of 30 organizations according to Bleacher Report.
In essence, the Rangers still have a lot of work to do to shape their future. That’s why it makes the most sense to sell at least a few of their top trade assets over the next eight days. Mike Minor will draw plenty of interest, and the collection of Hunter Pence, Lance Lynn, Danny Santana and Chris Martin will certainly prompt a few phone calls.
Pence is the only one with an expiring contract. As great of a story as the 36-year-old is, and as much as he’s helped the Rangers this season, his prophecy may land him with a contender in exchange for a prospect. Considering his reborn bat and his reputation as a tremendous clubhouse guy, Pence will be on the radar of a few playoff hopeful teams this trade season. He is already on one team’s radar.
Decisions only become more difficult for the Rangers’ front office. Minor will earn the biggest haul, but a case can be easily made to keep him around for the debut season of the club’s new ballpark. Texas might even afford the 31-year-old lefty a contract extension. The belief is the Rangers will have a very focused asking price for their ace. If it is not met, the aforementioned scenarios are more likely to play out.
The values of Santana, Lynn and Martin have never been higher. That said, my gut feeling is that none of them will be moved. Santana is just 28 years old and under team control through 2021. Martin is also under team control through 2021 and Lynn has two years and $20 million remaining on his contract.
It’s unlikely that Texas will be overwhelmed by an offer for anyone of those three, plus all three are set to play key roles for the club in the 2020 campaign. The bulk of their top pitching prospects remain at least a year away from surfacing in the majors, so filling out next year’s staff needs to be in thought as early as right now. The Rangers can afford to trade one of Minor or Lynn, but probably not both. Furthermore, there’s a plethora of reasons to keep Santana around.
Don’t expect it, but do brace yourself for the possibility of Nomar Mazara or Willie Calhoun being dealt. Both are young and both possess a lot of offensive ability. Despite rocky roads for each, certain teams will be intrigued by their upsides and request either player in a trade package. Given the Texas Rangers’ outfield surplus in the majors and the minors, trading away an outfielder is not out of the question.
That’s about everyone you may hear rumors about in the coming week. If Texas decides they are ready to eat some money, then the names of Shin-Soo Choo and Rougned Odor could come up. Choo has played his way to a substantial value, while Odor is on the verge of overstaying his welcome.
Sit back and enjoy! The Texas Rangers aren’t all that entertaining on the field at the moment, but they should provide some entertainment off the field prior to the deadline. They need to.