When the Texas Rangers' (51-37) schedule came out at the end of last year, this slate of 30 games, in 31 days leading into the All-Star break, jumped off the screen as a potential rough stretch. It has lived up to its billing, and then some. The on-fire Rangers have been cooled down over the last month, but somehow find themselves still clinging to the lead in the AL West by two games over the Houston Astros.
With one series left before the All-Star break, the Rangers will look to do what they did consistently for most of the first three plus months of the season, and that is win said series. The Washinton Nationals (34-53) might just be what the doctor ordered to get that series victory heading into the break. The Nats are not the Oakland A's (25-64) or Kansas City Royals (25-63) bad, but have struggled this season, as they are in the middle of a massive rebuild.
Texas Rangers schedule versus the Washington Nationals
Date and Time
Probable Pitcher Rangers
Probable Pitcher Nationals
Fri 7th - 6:05 CT
Cody Bradford LHP 0-1, 4.98 ERA, 24 SO
Trevor Williams RHP 5-4, 4.34 ERA, 63 SO
Sat 8th - 3:05 CT
Andrew Heaney LHP 5-5, 4.12 ERA, 89 SO
Jake Irvin RHP 1-5, 4.70 ERA, 40 SO
Sun 9th - 11:05 CT *
Dane Dunning RHP 8-1, 2.61 ERA, 55 SO
Patrick Corbin LHP 5-10, 5.13 ERA, 68 SO
* Sunday's game can be seen on Peacock
The team is nearly unidentifiable from their 2019 World Series championship, as they have traded or lost due to free agency and retirement, the likes of Trea Turner, Juan Soto, Bryce Harper (left after the 2018 season), Max Scherzer, Anthony Rendon, and Ryan Zimmerman. Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin, the two pitchers that they held onto, have been shells of their former selves either due to injury, lack of production, or a combination of both.
Because of all of the trades that GM Mike Rizzo has made over the last few years, there is a growing number of young prospects down on the farm as well as several talented young players at the major league level. The problem is that those young players in D.C. are being developed while competing against MLB players, and that is a difficult task, even for the most well rounded player.
Could the Texas Rangers and Washinton Nationals be potential trade partners?
With the Nationals they are no doubt going to fall on the selling side of the trade deadline action, the Rangers will be paying close attention to some of Washington's players as they are being scouted for potential additions to the club. A few arms that Washinton could move on from between now and August 1st are relievers Carl Edwards Jr, Hunter Harvey, and Kyle Finnegan.
Edwards Jr. is currently on the IL with shoulder inflammation, so a trade for him would have an added element of risk associated with it. Harvey has been solid out of the pen for the Nats. He has pitched 38 1/3 innings, has 44 strikeouts, eight saves, a 3.29 ERA, and a 0.991 WHIP. He also comes with two additional years of control so the price for the 28-year-old righty would be higher than some. Harvey has been used in the closer role over the last several weeks of the season, which is also a plus.
Finnegan has done an admiral job for Washington this season. He started out at the teams closer and racked up 11 saves in the role. As mentioned earlier, Harvey has been used more in the ninth, but Finnegan has still stayed in the mix for high leverage situations. This season he has pitched 36 innings, has 33 strikeouts, a 3.50 ERA, and a 1.389 WHIP. The right-handed, Texas native (grew up in Kingwood, TX and attended Texas State University) also has two years of eligibility left after the 2023 campaign.
Offensively, the Nationals could look to move outfielders Victor Robles (10-IL with back spasms) or Lane Thomas. Robles wouldn't be a fit for the Rangers as he is a speed outfielder with not much pop, and Texas has a handful of guys within the organization that already fit that mold.
Lane Thomas would be a nice addition to an already potent Texas Rangers' lineup
Thomas on the other hand is an interesting player (I have him on one of my fantasy teams and he is killing it). He will turn 28 on August 23, and will not become a free agent until after the 2025 season. There is a strong chance that the Nationals decide to keep Thomas, but with them being several years from making a serious run, they may choose to move him while his stock is at its peak.
He has been a bit of an inconsistent player over the last few years, but this season has seen him play outstanding ball all year. He is slashing .305/.351/.507, has 23 doubles, two triples, 14 home runs, 58 runs, 48 runs batted in, seven stolen bases, a 137 OPS+, and 2.9 bWAR. He has spent most of his time in right field but should be able to move over to left if Chris Young and Rizzo were to strike a deal.
The All-Star break can't get here fast enough for the Rangers. A series win this weekend, could give the club the momentum that they need to regroup and make a strong push over the last half of the season. And who knows, we may be getting a sneak peek at some future Rangers this weekend as well.