The Texas Rangers are shopping their ace and top reliever. They acquired an ace and top reliever in 2015; could they get a similar return to the one they gave up four years ago?
Three days remain until the trade deadline and the Texas Rangers have yet to make any notable moves. At least a handful of Rangers are thought to be on the block, with Mike Minor drawing the most headlines. Now that starting pitcher Marcus Stroman is reportedly going to the Mets, Minor could very well be the next big domino to drop.
It’s a matter of whether Texas can get the trade package they desire. There’s a lot to like about their situation. Minor has been one of the top starters in Major League Baseball, he’s under contract through next season, he’s in his prime and he’s part of a starting pitching market that is rather lean. You can only wonder which contender is ready to pay up?
Remember in 2015 when the Rangers acquired Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman from the Philadelphia Phillies? Prior to joining the Rangers that year Hamels had a 6-7 record, a 3.64 ERA and a 106 ERA+. Currently, Minor has an 8-6 record, a 3.00 ERA and a 169 ERA+.
Texas took on what was left of Hamels’ 6-year, $166 million contract that he signed in 2012. He was 31 years old when traded in ’15. At 31 years of age, Minor has one year left on a 3-year, $28 million.
Diekman had a 5.15 ERA and a 75 ERA+ before being traded in 2015. Chris Martin, Texas’ top reliever this season, has a 3.08 ERA and a 166 ERA+. Diekman was 28 years old and arbitration eligible at the time of the deal; Martin is 33 years old and arbitration eligible.
The Texas Rangers sent six players to Philadelphia that year: Jake Thompson, Alec Asher, Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Jerad Eickhoff and Matt Harrison. Heading into the 2015 season, Alfaro was the Rangers’ #2 prospect, Williams their #4 prospect, Thompson #8, Asher #14 and Eickhoff #20. Furthermore, Alfaro ranked 30th in MLB’s top 100 prospects list and Williams ranked 83rd.
If you’re catching my drift, the Rangers should get an impressive package if pairing Mike Minor and Chris Martin in a trade. Should they expect six players, including two top 100 prospects coming their way? Seems a little steep, though the return should be in that ballpark.
Minor is having a better season than Hamels was in 2015, but his track record pales in comparison. Hamels won a World Series and a World Series MVP in 2008; the Rangers paid a high price for his credentials. This is by no means Minor’s first great year, but it is definitely the best year of his career. And acquiring the hot hand at the deadline is always a top priority for contending squads.
Martin isn’t as young as Diekman; however, his numbers now are far better than Diekman’s were in the first half of 2015. For the hot hand theme, Martin posted a 1.86 ERA over 10 appearances in June and has a 1.29 ERA over 7 appearances in July.
Maybe the Rangers overpaid in that 2015 deal, though it goes to show how valuable an ace is to a contender. This year’s trade market is unique to that year’s trade market, but an ace is an ace, and a strong reliever is a strong reliever. Both are critical to a postseason berth and a postseason run.
The Texas Rangers may not get this year what the Phillies got from them four seasons ago, but that’s likely the kind of deal they’re looking for to justify trading Mike Minor and Chris Martin.