With the free-agent market having been well picked through and 2 qualifying offer recipients already signed, trades are inevitable. Some of these trades will involve the backlog of middle infielders the Texas Rangers have accumulated.
As Jamey Newberg explains, some of these middle infielders COULD be moved to other positions. Others are likely trade fodder. And no unfortunately we cannot approach a team with the “here’s a bunch of bad/lower level players, can we get a good player?” question. Trades don’t work like that. Some of the fan-favorite youth will eventually be sent away in the name of improving the team.
One team that the Texas Rangers haven’t had too many exchanges with could become a trade partner. The Kansas City Royals fancy themselves to be on the brink of exiting their own rebuild. Texas has spent an exuberant amount of money to get back into relevance. The Royals, while not exactly Tampa Bay or Oakland, aren’t known for a high payroll so they tend to rely on a young core.
That core is getting close with the likes of shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., first baseman Nick Pratto, starting pitcher Asa Lacy, and catcher MJ Melendez all a year or two from the major leagues. Their big league roster already has Nicky Lopez at second base and stalwart Salvador Perez manning the primary catcher role. The Royals seem to need answers for the outfield, starting pitching, and bullpen (as everybody) before they’re ready to stake claim to a playoff spot.
Let’s see how a few potential trades could happen between these American League teams.
3 Texas Rangers trades with the Kansas City Royals
No, this is not exactly an earth-shattering trade of megastars that’s going to excite the fanbase. What this is a realistic, if not favorable trade for the Texas Rangers.
The Rangers could have Nick try his hand in the outfield and battle with the likes of Eli White, Leody Taveras, Zach Reks, Willie Calhoun, and any minor league call ups. He could stay on as infield depth with Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Andy Ibanez, Yonny Hernandez, or the half dozen infield prospects knocking on the door. OR, the Rangers could make the rational move and…move him…to another team.
Nick Solak, for all his underperforming at the plate, is still relatively liked amongst the Rangers fan base. This could be attributed to his arrival being the signal that they were moving on from Odor. Perhaps it was his once lofty prospect rank, as Fangraphs had him #93 overall and 9th in the Tampa Bay Rays system.
Regardless, Solak is the most expendable infielder for the Texas Rangers. He showed promise with a big start to the season hitting .293 with 7 home runs in April but tailed off hitting just .196 in the following 65 games. After a demotion to AAA, where he tore it up, he was brought back looking rejuvenated with an 11 game hit streak. Though, once again he came back down to earth hitting .229 in September. Now, with second base locked up by Marcus Semien for at least a few years, and a plethora of infield options in the minors, Solak’s spot on the team is in question.
So the Texas Rangers ship him off to Kansas City. As mentioned before Nicky Lopez is currently there. HE has a breakout year hitting .300 but that seemed to come out of nowhere and the Royals brass may not put their faith that it’s here to stay. Adalberto Mondesi could theoretically slide over to make room for Bobby Witt but Mondesi has only played over 75 games ONCE. Plus he only has team control till the end of ’23, where they’ll likely let him walk. So they turn to a once-promising prospect, who’s fallen from grace but shown flashes of what could be.
In return, the Rangers are getting a steal in the form of Alec Marsh and Tyler Gentry. Marsh was the 70th pick in 2019. He struggled with “arm soreness” limiting his 2021 performance to 25.1 innings posting a 4.97 ERA in AA. Not the showing of promise but once healthy he features a 60-grade fastball and a 60-grade curveball according to MLB Pipeline. If he can stay healthy and work on his control, he has the makings of a starter. Tyler Gentry meanwhile is the Royals 3rd round draft selection in 2020. He made his high A appearance batting .259 with a .844 OPS and 7 home runs in 44 games. He’s a well-rounded player with no obvious shortcomings. He needs to maintain a solid offensive profile though as no one trait stands out either.