The Texas Rangers have had a quiet, yet busy offseason. News broke Friday morning that the team had agreed to trade infielder Jurickson Profar to the division-rival Oakland Athletics. They’ve also made several smaller moves like the acquisition of infielder Patrick Wisdom from the St. Louis Cardinals.
The biggest free agency move the team made came earlier this month when they inked starter Lance Lynn to a three-year/$30 million contract to slide in towards the top of their rotation. The question then became whether or not the addition of Lynn wasn’t to bolster their rotation, but maybe to replace the player who had worked his way to the top of it in the second half of 2018.
Reports have surfaced in the last few weeks that the Rangers have entertained numerous offers for pitcher Mike Minor. The Tennessee-native who turns 31 next Wednesday made major strides after the All Star Break in 2018. In ten second half starts, the lefty had an ERA under 3 and a WHIP inder 1. Texas has reportedly spoken with the likes of the Milwaukee Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets about the possibility of a trade for Minor.
Why deal a player who is under team control for two more seasons at an affordable rate and might be your best starting pitcher? The team is firmly committed to a rebuild and this would only push that further along.
Two of our Rangers writers, Garrett Jones and Alx Plinck, present their cases of why or why not Texas should deal Mike Minor.
The case FOR trading Minor – Alex Plinck
This offseason the Rangers have made it no secret, its rebuilding time. The goal of this rebuild is to bring a successful franchise for a long period. Exploring trade options for Mike Minor is a positive for the Rangers for a number of reasons.
First of all, Minor is coming off an excellent 2018 campaign. He went 12-8 with a 4.18 ERA in 157 innings. Minor hadn’t had a successful season like last year since 2013 with the Atlanta Braves.
Second, with the recent success, Minor adds more trade value for other teams like the Phillies or the Brewers who are the highest suitors, according to reports.
Third, if the Rangers are in rebuild mode and not expecting to contend in the next few years, then there isn’t a point in holding on to Minor’s success and not explore a trade to add future value to the Rangers. Finally, if the Rangers wait until July to trade Minor then the team runs the risk of a decline year or possible injury to which Minor would lose his value. In this case, a group of promising prospects would turn into one maybe two chancy acquisitions.
The case for keeping Minor – Garrett Jones
When the Rangers signed LHP Mike Minor last offseason, many thought the team was getting a serviceable reliever, and a great comeback story after injuries marred his early career in Atlanta.
What the Rangers got was a top of the rotation arm that carried Texas down the stretch with quality stats in a lost 67-95 campaign.
Texas has been dealing more than most Major League teams after firmly committing to a rebuild in July. Recently, it traded utility men Drew Robinson and Jurickson Profar to St. Louis and Oakland, respectively, after signing RHP Jesse Chavez, C Jeff Mathis, and RHP Lance Lynn.
Many speculate Minor could be the next to go. He’s been linked in discussions with Milwaukee, who is looking to bolster its rotation after a run to the National League Championship Series in 2018.
There’s no doubt Minor’s current trade value is higher than it’s ever been. However, there’s a compelling case for keeping him at the top of Texas’ rotation as a solid arm for a rebuilding 2019 season.
The Rangers should keep Minor. They committed to a 3-year, $28 million deal when he signed last December, and still owe him about $18 million.
Minor is a rarity for Texas- he’s one of the few players that the team has committed significant money to. Most of the Rangers players haven’t been extended from their rookie or minor league contracts.
He also holds value on a young team for his unempirical veteran mentorship, especially considering he is one of only four current Ranger pitchers age 30 or older on the active roster.
That holds more value than ever after team captain and unquestioned leader Adrian Beltré retired in November. It’s not out of the question that Minor could be the Rangers starter for Opening Day against the Chicago Cubs on Mar. 28, 2019.
With so much change, holding onto Minor would bring some semblance of continuity to a roster undergoing so much change- and while that can’t be portrayed in the box score, it’s an important step for a team grasping for an identity in its rebuilding future.
While the free agent market still offers some contending teams starting pitching options, a trade for Minor might be more appealing to teams on the cusp and in need of quality starting pitching.
As the Rangers continue their difficult trek back towards contention, the decision of whether or not to keep Minor will be a very important one for GM Jon Daniels.
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