The Texas Rangers are preparing to face the Houston Astros in a four-game series that has huge AL West division implications. Starting as soon as Saturday they will have reinforcement coming in for the bullpen. The Texas Rangers announced Friday afternoon that they had acquired Aroldis Chapman from the Kansas City Royals for left-handed pitcher Cole Ragans and minor league outfielder Roni Cabrera.
This is Chris Young's first significant trade since taking over for Jon Daniels last August. It will likely not be the last trade Texas makes before the deadline.
Why did the Rangers agree to this trade?
Aroldis Chapman signed a one-year 3.75 million dollar contract this past offseason with the Royals. That came after last season when he refused to show up for a postseason workout with the Yankees and the team sent him home. The velocity was down last season to an average of 97.5mph, the lowest average fastball that he has had in his entire career. It looked like he was done. He signed with Kansas City because he was good friends with Salvador Perez.
This season the fastball rate is back to 99.4mph. If it stays at that, it would be the highest rate he has had since 2017 when he was averaging 100mph on his four-seam fastball. Chapman has struck out 43.4 % of the batters he has faced. His walk rate is still higher than a team would like it to be for their closer. Right now Chapman has walked 20 batters in 29 1/3 innings pitched. That is concerning. Also, he was not closing for Kansas City. He was their primary 8th inning reliever and he would hand the game over to Scott Barlow to close it out. It is unknown what Chapman's role will be with the Rangers' when he arrives.
What the Rangers gave up to acquire Chapman and what it means for potential future trades.
To get Chapman the Rangers gave up 2016 first round pick Cole Ragans and minor league outfielder Roni Cabrera. Ragans spent most of the first 2 1/2 months on the major league roster serving as the long-man. He had a very impressive spring training that earned him a spot on the roster. He will presumably head to Kansas City and get a shot to start every fifth day. Unfortunately for Ragans that opportunity was likely not going to happen for him in Texas. Good luck to Ragans, I will be rooting him on from afar. He came back from two Tommy John surgeries in a row and never gave up. He is a success story no matter what happens in his career.
The great thing about this trade is it does not significantly reduce their chances of being able to pull off future trades. They still have all of their top prospects in hand and Chris Young has sent a message with this trade that Texas is open for business and is wanting to win. This is a trade that will energize this team and add depth to the bullpen. I give this trade an A for Chris Young and I think this could help Kansas City in the future as well.
The Rangers make a series of transactions on Friday
In addition to acquiring Aroldis Chapman the Rangers added two players to the active major league roster. They activated Glenn Otto off of the 60-day IL and activated Brad Miller from the 10-day IL. To make room for these two and likely tomorrow Aroldis Chapman they sent down lefty John King, righty Yerry Rodriguez, and catcher Sam Huff all down to Round Rock.
Otto was being stretched out as a starter while rehabbing in Round Rock. He made three starts for Round Rock and did not have a decision. He had a 2.70 ERA with 14 strikeouts to one walk. He also was only allowing hitters a .167 batting average. He gives Bruce Bochy another right-handed pitcher with a great slider that can come in for short stints or pitch multiple innings.
Brad Miller probably still does not have much of a role on this team. I think he will probably be a pinch hitter, sometime starter at first. For the most part he is a good veteran presence for this team. He will continue to serve in that role.