Number 5: Pete Fairbanks
Jon Daniels had a trend in his tenure as GM. If the Rangers were not competitive he traded bullpen arms for prospects. He traded such arms as Eric Gagne, Keone Kela, Ian Kennedy, and the number 5 player on this list Pete Fairbanks. Trading Fairbanks has turned out to be a massive mistake.
Fairbanks was a 2015 9th-round draft pick. He perservered through two Tommy John surgeries. In 2019 he went all the way from High-A to the majors. He has averaged around 97-98mph on his four-seam fastball. He can top out at 100mph. He has closer stuff. He ended up making eight appearances for the Rangers and struck out three batters in four of those appearances. He struggled after his first few appearances and that led the Rangers to consider trading him.
Tampa saw the potential in Fairbanks. He made an appearance against them in June 2019 allowing two runs in his one inning, but striking out three batters as well. The Rangers needed a hitter for a team that was unexpectedly competitive. When the trade was made the Ranger were 50-43 and only 2.5 games back of the wild card. They were looking for an inexpensive option to improve their offense and Solak ended up making his debut on August 20th.
The Rangers offense needed help because the team missed on an entire generation of hitters at the end of the 2010s. Nomar Mazara, Ronald Guzman, Roughned Odor, Jurickson Profar, Jairo Beras, and others did not pan out as expected. By 2019 the Rangers needed a reliable offensive weapon who didn't strike out a ton. Solak was supposed to be that player. He was thought to have a professional approach to hitting and excelled at every minor-league level. The Rangers in July chose to trade Fairbanks for Solak straight up.
Since that trade Fairbanks has become of the best relievers in the American League when healthy. He recently signed an extension that allows him to stay in Tampa through at least 2025 with an option for 2026. He made 24 appearances in 2022 and had a 1.13 ERA. Solak this past offseason was traded for cash to the Reds in a move to clear a 40-man roster spot.