Was it worth trading Cole Ragans to the Kansas City Royals to win the World Series?

The Texas Rangers made a trade to acquire Aroldis Chapman from the Kansas City Royals on June 30, 2023. Going into Spring Training, the Rangers will have some key pitchers out for half the season.

Was it worth trading Cole Ragans away for a World Series title after hearing he's the Opening Day pitcher for the Royals?

Sep 28, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Cole Ragans (55) pitches
Sep 28, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Cole Ragans (55) pitches / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

We are almost a week from Opening Night at Globe Life Field against the Chicago Cubs. It seems like yesterday that Texas Rangers fans were at the World Series parade in Arlington. To win a World Series title, you have to part ways with young talent in your organization.

The Rangers traded pitcher Cole Ragans and outfielder Roni Cabrera for Aroldis Chapman on June 30, 2023. It seemed like a no-brainer deal to receive an experienced closing pitcher with experience in the playoffs. But with the current injuries to Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, as well as Ragans' surprising (and immediate) emergence, the Rangers might be rethinking that deal.

Ragans almost became a forgotten man during spring training last season. He would have started in Triple-A with the Round Rock Express if the Rangers didn't have an injury bug on the mound. When Ragans pitched for the Rangers last season, he had a 2-1 record and a 5.92 ERA. When he was traded to the Royals, he significantly improved his ERA to 2.64. Ragans won AL Pitcher of the Month for August, which Rangers fans didn't like seeing.

A few days ago, it was announced that Ragans would be the Opening Day pitcher for the Royals. With all the hard work he put in after being traded, it's awesome seeing him get rewarded for it. Some Rangers fans feel like the organization gave up on him too quickly. If Mike Maddux had more time to work his magic on Ragans, he could have thrived in the second half of the season. As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, sometimes you must trade assets you don't want to trade.

The Rangers' starting pitcher rotation to begin the season will consist of Nathan Eovaldi, Jon Gray, Cody Bradford, Andrew Heaney, and Dane Dunning. While it doesn't have Scherzer or deGrom in it to begin the season, this rotation should hold the Rangers down until both are healthy. It will be interesting to see if deGrom and Scherzer will make the difference they should and raise the team's ceiling back to "contender" level. If Ragans were still here, though, the Rangers' first-half upside would seem far higher.

In conclusion, the Rangers made the right call in trading Ragans to get Chapman. While it stings seeing the Rangers develop another pitcher for another franchise again, winning the World Series was worth it. I hope Ragans has a great season with the Royals. The Rangers can mask the pitching woes with the offense until deGrom and Scherzer are healthy. Let's see how the starting rotation does without Ragans and revisit this question at the All-Star Break.

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