The Rangers are coming off back-to-back series sweeps against first-place teams (when the series began), the Tampa Bay Rays, and Cleveland Guardians. Now it’s the third test, the Los Angeles Dodgers. With the trade deadline looming, a question becomes what will the Texas Rangers do? There are looming talks about the Rangers being aggressive in obtaining the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani and how the Angels plan to market Shohei come the trade deadline. While those types of rumors are fun to think about, the likelihood the final trigger hits is low, and the price for a team like the Rangers will skyrocket compared to the Reds or Giants.
The Rangers’ historical early success stems from two main aspects, scoring late and a strong bullpen. As odd as it is to say, the Rangers pen posted the fourth fewest runs since the break, along with the fifth-lowest ERA in the six games played. It’s been central part by the work of both Aroldis Chapman and Will Smith, but the promotion of Alex Speas Wednesday adds more firepower to the bullpen. Could the Rangers use another arm in the pen? Yes, of course, and every team could utilize another pitcher, but other factors are involved. For example, it is selling prospect pieces that could provide helpfulness during the offseason in a potential trade or assisting the club shortly, having to create a roster spot, and taking the risk of the moving part being successful in the first place.
The Rangers will continue to shop, but there’s the length in the bullpen with Cody Bradford and Glenn Otto (and they can interchange one in the rotation if needed), along with a strong back of the bullpen in Chapman and Smith. The Rangers may go small and acquire a seventh-inning potential piece, but I don’t believe Texas should ante up.
103 mph from Aroldis Chapman 🔥
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) July 18, 2023
On the offensive side, the Rangers have a good round of players that mix between speed threats, defensive gems, power, and leadership. The struggles are hitting for Ezequiel Duran, but his track record proves he belongs as an everyday player in the big leagues. Travis Jankowski and Robbie Grossman interchange between the outfield and designated hitter, and Mitch Garver is a good power DH plus can catch when Jonah Heim needs rest. Josh Smith is an essential late-game speed threat that manager Bruce Bochy can use to pinch run, so that leaves a name many people may forget, Brad Miller.
Yes, Miller’s playing time is dwindling, but there’s one unquantifiable part of a roster that gets overlooked, leadership. I see Miller interacting on an everyday basis with his teammates, laughing but still warming up. It’s an aspect that if the team continues to win, you don’t want to break up. Therefore, there’s no reason to go out and find a backup outfielder or utility player to replace Miller if that player only gets slightly more playing than Miller.
All of these circumstances change if injuries hit the team, and the Rangers are not the most complete team in baseball (the Atlanta Braves have something to say about that). However, the Rangers don’t need to be aggressive until the month ends. You listen to selling offers and test the trade market, but General Manager Chris Young will not pull a hasty trigger. The past week showed that the Texas Rangers have the roster to compete in the postseason, especially considering they’re on pace to battle for home-field advantage. Now it’s on to face the Los Angeles Dodgers and the rival Houston Astros on their turf. If all goes well, Bruce Bochy may be managing the American League in the 2024 All-Star Game.
— Alex Plinck🏳️🌈 (@aplinckTX) July 20, 2023
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