The MLB trade deadline is in less than a week, and teams are scrambling to make last-minute adjustments to their rosters. The Texas Rangers are no different, as they too are in the mix for some help. Recently, our own Michael Sanders discussed the possibilities of Texas trading for the likes of players such as Brent Suter, Blake Snell, Juan Soto, and Kendall Graveman,
ESPN joined in on the fun too, as they listed Texas as one of nine teams that could be linked to Shohei Ohtani. In their mock proposal the Rangers would include prospects Brock Porter, Jack Leiter Justin Foscue, and Yeison Morrobel. Another player mentioned in the trade was shortstop Ezequiel Duran. The 24 year-old has been mentioned as a possible trade candidate for quite some time.
The problem though is trading Duran is a tricky situation. Right now, he is batting .297 with 13 home runs and 38 RBIs. In Sunday's win against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he went 2-4 knocking in a double and RBI. As a utility infielder, he has already eclipsed his games played from last year. His numbers continue to improve, as he has the third highest batting average on the team.
Remember, it wasn't too long ago that Duran was unknown. He came to Texas in the Joey Gallo trade in 2021. He began his Rangers' career with Double A Frisco, where he batted .317, and had 31 RBIs in 45 games. In his first month with the Rangers last season, he struggled with just 16 hits on 62 at-bats. However, he would eventually get better. During the first month of this season, he had a .304 batting average. In June that number would improve to .349, as he had 29 hits, 11 RBIs, and six doubles.
However, his numbers would eventually begin to fall. Currently he is batting .200 in the month of July. Prior to Sunday's game, he had been ice cold. In six games, he had been batting 2-18 with nine strikeouts. Against the Houston Astros Monday, he went 1-4 with one walk. Prior to the all-star break, his numbers seemed to take the biggest hit, as he had gone 2-8 against the Washington Nationals, and 2-9 against the Boston Red Sox. His inconsistency seems to be one of his main flaws, as he has the tendency to struggle for long periods. When needed though, he can certainly turn up his bat when called upon.
Where does Duran fall in the Rangers infield?
It is hard to tell. Currently, the team seems set with a lineup of Nathaniel Lowe, Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, and Josh Jung. As is stands, both Duran and Josh Smith remain the teams infield backups. Duran is usually interchangeable between shortstop and third base. Smith on the other hand, is fixed between second base and short.
When comparing the two, Smith is an excellent fielder. His hitting needs some work though, as he has .a 205 batting average. He currently has 23 hits on 112 at bat appearances. Compared to Duran, he is also a great baserunner that is usually called upon as a pinch runner/hitter.
With Corey Seager being placed on the 10-day disabled list, Texas is going to rely on Duran and Smith to help carry the workload.
Currently, Duran will not become a full free agent until 2028. He is the team's seventh cheapest contract. He checks off every list a backup fielder needs. Trading him is a 50/50 possibility, but keeping him isn't a bad alternative either.