With the July 31st trade deadline coming up this week, it figures to be a busy week for the Texas Rangers. After a surprising first half of the season that saw them to get to as many as ten games over the .500 mark and hold one of the two American League Wild Card spots for days at a time, a recent slump has plummeted Texas down to the .500 mark and just barely on the periphery of the playoff picture. With the number and quality of teams in front of them in the standings, it only makes sense for GM Jon Daniels and the rest of his front office staff to explore all options to improve this team’s future by moving some of its key veterans now.
Below is a running tab of rumors and transactions by the team this week. Note that they are arranged from newest to oldest.
Rangers looking to add Mariners starter Leake?
#Brewers one of teams on #Mariners’ Mike Leake, sources tell The Athletic. #Rangers also have been in mix. Trade possible, even after Leake pitched last night. Leake holds full no-trade, but told reporters he was willing to waive it for deal that did not come to fruition – yet.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2019
Mariners pitcher Mike Leake faced the Rangers last night and had a great start until the Texas bats heated up in the middle innings. With a 4.40 ERA on the season, the stats don’t jump off the page immediately for Leake. However, the 31-year-old has been very effective at times this season. He nearly had a perfect game earlier in the summer.
With two years and $33 million left on his contract after 2019, Leake isn’t exactly the bargain that Mike Minor and Lance Lynn currently are in the Ranger rotation, but that AAV is still well below what they’d need to spend to sign someone like Gerrit Cole this winter.
Also, would Leake be a consolation prize to ease the pain of losing Minor? Or just a solid number two/three behind him heading into 2020?
TRADE: Chris Martin to the Braves
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2019
The trade wells officially opened up for Texas on Tuesday night with a nice in-game trade sending reliever Chris Martin to the Atlanta Braves for pitcher Kolby Allard. Martin is a free agent at the end of the season and has been outstanding in the Texas bullpen for the last several months. The Arlington native was in his second season with the Rangers had had just four walks in 38 innings this season.
Allard was a first round pick in the 2015 draft and briefly pitched in the majors in 2018. In 20 starts in Triple-A this season, Allard has a 4.17 ERA. Ranking in the top ten of Atlanta’s prospects, it is definitely a solid return for Texas on a reliever with just a few months of control remaining.
Hunter Pence not in lineup on Tuesday as rumors swirl
Hunter Pence and his great comeback story are drawing interest. Cubs, Rays, Braves, maybe Indians are among logical possibilities
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 30, 2019
Pence is not listed in the Rangers lineup for tonight. The Tampa Bay Rays had rumored interest in him dating back a couple weeks but more playoff contenders are rumored to be in the mix.
Despite his great clubhouse presence, the 36-year-old All-Star is the one trade candidate on the Rangers that doesn’t make a lot of sense to keep. He is on a one-year deal and his presence in the lineup could (and already has) taken away at-bats from younger players like Willie Calhoun.
Rangers looking to add immediate big league help?
Sources: Trey Mancini trade market includes interest from #Astros, #Rangers and #Rays, although Houston appears focused on adding a starting pitcher. Texas, while not a strong 2019 playoff contender, is looking for controllable bats. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 30, 2019
The interest from Texas in the 27-year-old outfielder is intriguing. Mancini’s right handed bat that has yielded 24 home runs and an .873 OPS this year would definitely be a boost in a lefty-heavy Rangers lineup. Another bonus is the fact that Mancini will still have three years of control left after this season.
The biggest question is who would he be replacing? It wouldn’t make sense to add another outfielder with the current glut of them the Rangers are balancing right now. Would a deal between Texas and Baltimore include a Nomar Mazara or Willie Calhoun?
Is it shaping up to be a buyer’s market?
Rival exec on #BlueJays’ return for Stroman: Don’t assume TOR could have done better because other teams (ATL, NYY, MIN) have better prospects. Buyers refusing to overpay. Jays, even with three days to deadline, evidently felt Kay and Woods-Richardson were best market would bear.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 29, 2019
After the Toronto Blue Jays dealt pitcher Marcus Stroman to the New York Mets yesterday, the reaction to their return haul was less than ecstatic. Stroman, an All-Star in 2019 and with one more year of team control both like Mike Minor, is three years younger than Minor at 28-years-old but still got a less than stellar return a few days before the deadline. “Buyers refusing to overpay.” If the Rangers have to merely settle on a return to simply get a deal done for someone like Minor or even Lance Lynn, is it worth it to deal them? Considering the organization’s current major league ready starting pitching depth behind the two, it might be wise to just hold on to them and continue to be competitive if teams are going to try to bait you into taking 75 cents on the dollar in a deal.
Mike Minor’s next start moved to after the deadline
Mike Minor has been pushed back to Wednesday to avoid any complexities with pitching assignments in case a trade pops up
— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) July 27, 2019
News like this certainly seems to indicate the Rangers are confident they will find a deal to move their All-Star pitcher before Wednesday afternoon’s deadline. Minor was originally slated to start on Tuesday night but the move to Wednesday eliminates any chances of injury before a deal is struck in the final moments before the deadline at 3 PM Central time.
Rangers and Twins discussing Minor?
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 28, 2019
The Twins spent most of the first half of the season miles and miles ahead of anyone in their division, but the preseason favorite Cleveland Indians have caught fire and are basically level (1 GB) with Minnesota in the AL Central standings. A move for a pitcher like Minor (3.00 ERA in 135 innings this season) is a definite shot in the arm that could help boost the Twins to their first division title since 2010.
Time to give up on Nomar Mazara?
— SportsDay Rangers (@dmn_rangers) July 26, 2019
The Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant noted in a column this week that teams like the Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres have been scouting Mazara at recent games. Only 24, it would be hard to move on from Mazara at this point in his career. However, he was called up at the age of 20 at the beginning of the 2016 season and has never gone back down despite some slumps that might have warranted it.
While he seems to have improved his ability to hit the ball to all parts of the field in 2019, his level of average all-around play just isn’t that exciting. With his free agency coming up in a couple of seasons, the Rangers might as well kick the tires on seeing what they can get for him now. A deal within the next few days might be unlikely, but keep an eye on this throughout the offseason.
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