It’s widely known that the Texas Rangers need starting pitching.
Despite having drafted high-ceiling pitchers Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter the last two years, along with the emergence of other prospects such as Cole Winn, Owen White and others, we shouldn’t expect to see any of them until 2023 at best. That means the Rangers have holes to fill on their staff right now, because outside of Martin Perez and Jon Gray, there aren’t many trustworthy starter options.
Texas isn’t just looking to trade for rentals, however. They’re in the market for controllable talent if they choose to buy at all in 2022. That’s where the Arizona Diamondbacks can help.
Our friends at Venom Strikes, led by Site Expert Jakob Oliver, cover the D-backs for FanSided and a recent conversation led to a hypothetical trade scenario between the two teams.
Proposing a Texas Rangers trade for the Diamondbacks’ Merrill Kelly
In this proposal, the Texas Rangers would acquire righty Merrill Kelly for three prospects. Kelly is 33, but has a 3.26 ERA in 19 starts for the Diamondbacks in 2022. He’s under contract through the 2024 season on a cheap six-year, $32.5 million extension, meaning he’ll be 35 at the end of his deal. He also has a club option for 2025 for what it’s worth. Not an onerous commitment by any means!
In fact, that’s a bargain in a market where pitchers are making record salaries, and for a guy like Kelly who can slot in as a mid-rotation option both right now and going forward, this feels like a good fit for the Rangers. With the team looking to contend in 2023, they could use more stable options in their rotation while Leiter and co. are on the way. And even when the prospects do finally arrive, they will inevitably experience turbulence at some point, so having Kelly’s steady arm, would be useful in that regard as well.
On the flip side, the Diamondbacks would acquire three infield prospects, all of whom rank in the Rangers’ top 20 organizationally. With Corey Seager and Marcus Semien in the fold long-term, and with more talented names ahead of Cauley, Wendzel and Hauver in the pecking order, Texas can afford to part ways with these players, dealing from a position of great strength within the minor league system. This is especially true when you consider, again, the Rangers’ need for controllable, big-league starters.
Best of all, Kelly would come cheaper than any trade for Frankie Montas or Luis Castillo. While Montas and Castillo are both higher-ceiling options, that would also mean parting with higher-level talent to acquire either one. Those prospects could be better used in a deal to get say… Juan Soto?