The August 1st trade deadline is about nine days away. Trade talks should pick up in intensity and frequency as we get closer to that date. The Rangers got off to a hot start after the All-Star break winning their first six games. They have now dropped two in a row against the Dodgers. They still have the highest run differential in baseball and the third-best record in the American League. The Rangers as currently constructed can absolutely win the AL West. If the goal is to advance to the American League Championship Series or the World Series they will need to improve a portion of their roster.
The AL is wide open. The Rays got off to a hot start in April, but have been playing .500 baseball since about mid-May. The Orioles are a well-balanced team, but also young and maybe not ready for the pressure-packed games in October. The central is the central. Really the strongest team still is probably Houston and Texas is doing their best to make sure they end up as a wild card team. The opportunity is there much like in 2010 to make a surprise run to the World Series. It will likely depend on what Chris Young is able to get done in the next 9 days.
Lets recap what trades Texas made in the month leading up to the 2010 trade deadline. They traded for Cliff Lee and Mark Lowe on July 9th from Seattle. They added to that by trading for Bengie Molina, who became their starting catcher. They traded for Jorge Cantu and Cristian Guzman in seperate trades. Then at the deadline, they dealt Jarrod Saltalamacchia to the Red Sox.
Chris Young to this point has already acquired Aroldis Chapman from the Royals. There is a push from ownership to make this team into a World Series team this year. Ray Davis at the All-Star logo reveal presser had this to say.
Ownership will likely not stand in the way of whatever Young wants to do. The Rangers are hosting the All-Star game in 2024 and no better way to kick off the build-up to that game, than by hosting the World Series for the second time in four years and the first with the home team being the Texas Rangers. So, with that thought in mind I wanted to make some bold predictions about what Texas will end up doing by the August 1st deadline.
Prediction #1- Texas Rangers trade for Colorado Rockies Reliever Brent Suter
The 33-year old reliever has pitched very well for the Rockies and is fresh off the IL having recovered from an oblique injury. He has a 2.74 ERA for Colorado this season and as a rental will likely not cost more than 1-2 prospects and he will help provide depth in the middle innings and a veteran presence to a bullpen that is light on veteran arms.
Suter was a 31st round pick by the Brewers in the 2012 MLB Draft. He made his debut in 2016 and continued to pitch for the Brewers through 2022. His best season was 2019 when he picked up 12 wins out of the bullpen. He had a 3.07 ERA, and struck out 69 batters and walked 24. He has pitched in the postseason in both 2019 and 2020 for the Brewers. He would add to the stable of left handers that the Rangers deploy. He would join Brock Burke, Aroldis Chapman, and Will Smith. He is a free agent after the season.
Prediction #2- Texas Rangers do not trade for Shohei Ohtani
The Texas Rangers absolutely could put a package of players on the table that would dwarf what many other teams can offer. Multiple media outlets have even said that the Rangers are the best trade partner for the Angels when it comes to Ohtani. I think at the end of the day the Angels are going to run with this fantasy that they can make the playoffs this season. I don't think their owner Arte Moreno will allow the GM Perry Minasian to trade Ohtani. Moreno is holding on to the hope that a near playoff run will be enough to convince Ohtani to stay in Anaheim. I don't think it will and Ohtani this winter will end up signing elsewhere and the Angels will be left with only a draft pick to show for Ohtani.
Prediction #3- Texas Rangers shock the baseball world and trade for Juan Soto and Blake Snell
The Padres are kind of in a tough spot. They are well back in the division race behind the Dodgers, Giants, and Diamondbacks. They are 6.0 games back of the third wild card spot and have roster decisions to make for 2024. Snell who was acquired from the Rays after the 2020 season is finally about to become a free agent. They have extended several players in the last year and Snell has not been one of them. It appears that he will enter free agency. The Padres have to decide if they want to keep him or trade him to help restock their farm system. They face a similar situation with Soto in that he will be a free agent after the 2024 season. His trade value will only go down if the Padres hold onto him past this deadline.
Texas needs a starting pitcher and could take on Soto to provide heft to the middle of the lineup. I think Young will want Snell and San Diego might want to include Soto if Texas is willing to increase the return.
It could end up like the 2021 trade between Washington and the LA Dodgers. That trade saw the Dodgers acquire Scherzer who was a rental and Trea Turner who still had another season left before free agency. The Dodgers were trying to defend their 2020 World Series, but came up short losing to Atlanta in the National League Championship Series.
Texas in this trade takes a huge swing and brings in Snell and Soto. They trade away Anthony Gutierrez, Jack Leiter, Josh Hatcher, and Larson Kindreich. Snell would give their rotation frontline depth behind Nathan Eovaldi. Stephen Francis wrote about Snell and how he fits with Texas. This trade would allow Andrew Heaney or Martin Perez to move to the bullpen. The Rangers adding Soto would give them a natural number three hitter to put after Seager and before Garcia. The trade would be a massive one. It is one that fans will be talking about for years whether it goes well or poorly.
Prediction number 4- Texas Rangers trade for Kendall Graveman
The Rangers are fully committed to building a team that can win in October and that leads to a trade with the Chicago White Sox for Kendal Graveman. The Rangers send Justin Foscue and Jonathan Ornelas to the White Sox for Graveman.
The former Oakland Athletics' pitcher would be returning to the AL West once again. He has pitched for the A's, Mariners, and Astros. He would be brought in to balance out the late innings by adding a right-handed arm to the Smith-Chapman combination. Graveman this season has a 3.00 ERA, 8 saves, and 41 strikeouts to nine walks, He also has postseason experience. Graveman would also be valuable because he does have one more season on his contract and can be the closer next season if Smith and Chapman both leave in free agency.
The Texas Rangers Trade Bounty
The Rangers in my scenario end up with Brent Suter, Blake Snell, Juan Soto, and Kendall Graveman. They have added a frontline starter to their rotation, one of the best hitters and on-base guys in the entire league, and two veteran bullpen arms that have postseason experience. If the Rangers make these moves it would give Bochy more options late in games and make an already great lineup even better. They would be setup to not only be able to hold off Houston the last two months of the season, but also to make a run in October all the way to the World Series.
Chris Young has been very quiet regarding the deadline and there are not a lot of rumors from well known baseball writers about Texas other than the Ohtani specualtion. I do not think anyone really knows what is going to happen. There is reason for them to be aggressive and push their chips in as West Jones detailed in his article.
Remember this just because you have an open window does not guarantee prolonged success or winning the World Series. The 2016 Cubs did win the World Series with a young core, but within 4 seasons that team was broken up and did not win anything else. The 2020 Chicago White Sox looked poised for a long window of competition and had their young core all locked up to long-term contracts. Three years and no championship series appearances later they are potentially setting themselves up to tear down a portion of the roster. The Dodgers have been winning for quite some time yet only have one World Series championship to show for it.
Chris Young and the Texas Rangers front office have to decide if this is the moment to go for it or does he let it pass him by in hopes that the opportunity might come around again in the future.