Trade, Keep, Build: 3 Texas Rangers players with 3 different outcomes
The Texas Rangers have been playing some of their best ball in years.
No, that’s not an exaggeration as May represented their first winning month since June of 2019. They also haven’t had a season over .500 since 2016 when they lost in the ALDS. Enduring five consecutive losing seasons, with two of them planned as rebuild years, has ignited a fire under the front office, which spent a record amount of money this off-season. They brought in star players Corey Seager and Marcus Semien to lead the way while topping it off with contributing vets Martin Perez, Kole Calhoun, and Brad Miller.
The Rangers have also begun calling up some of their top talents to fill in the gaps, and as they look to push for a wild card spot in the early going of the year. They’ve called up outfielder Zak Reks, catcher Sam Huff, infielder Josh H. Smith and recently Ezequiel Duran, with the latter two being top-10 prospects.
No, the prospects don’t have necessarily enough games or plate appearances to lock any of them in for the future, but after 51 games we’ll take a look at who the Texas Rangers should look to Trade, Keep or Build with.
3 Texas Rangers players to trade, keep or build
Trade: Nathaniel Lowe
This one may come as a surprise to some or be welcomed by others.
I’ll start by saying Nathaniel Lowe is a decent to good ball player. I like him and was even happy with the trade for him at the time, but let’s take a look at some of his numbers. His first 71 games (over 2 years) for Tampa Bay yielded a .240 batting average with 11 home runs. His first year with Texas was a bit of a roller coaster but he finished with a respectable .264/.357/.415/.771 slash line while hitting 18 home runs in 157 games. That represented a 2.4 WAR which was 4th on the Rangers to Joey Gallo, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Adolis Garcia. Not bad for his first full season.
In 2022, he is very much the same hitter slashing .260/.313/.391/.704 with five home runs. His tendency to be streaky continued as well. In his first 16 games he batted .381 with one home run, in his second 16 games he hit .070 with one home run, and in his current 14 games, he’s batting .327 with three home runs. Overal, Lowe had had a fine performance that will keep him on a major league roster for years…I’m just not certain that the roster will be the Rangers.
Texas has struggled to solidify the 1B spot for years now and Lowe was looked at to be that guy. However, as they head into contention can the Rangers afford to have a power position being locked down by an average power hitter who can disappear at any time?
With Sam Huff looking like he’s up in the majors for good this time and commanding playing time with his bat, perhaps it is time to consider trading Lowe while his value is high. He still has one year of team control and three years of arbitration so realistically he could be with a team until after the 2026 season. Huff isn’t the only competitor for the first base spot either as emerging prospect Dustin Harris will look to battle for a spot in the coming years.
We also already know the Rangers aren’t 100% sold on Lowe, as they were in deep for elite first baseman Matt Olson. Lowe has recently lost a little playing time at first to Huff and Andy Ibanez and perhaps a hot streak will come allowing the Rangers to trade him to a first base needy team closer to the deadline.
Let me reiterate that there is NO NEED to trade Lowe, he has been doing just fine and Texas should trade him for anything less than what could be considered a good deal. But the option for him to be the main “selling” piece for the Rangers is there.