The Texas Rangers aren’t very good, but we all know this. What we DO know, is they have plenty of assets that other contending teams would love to have. From the obvious Cole Hamels and Adrian Beltre rumors to the mere thought of trading a young closing pitcher in Keona Kela, we’re going to look through the Rangers’ possible trade options before the trade deadline.
Baseball general managers are thinkers, thinkers who know numbers, numbers that add to wins, and Cole Hamels puts up some solid numbers. At 4-6, he’s not having his best statistical season of his career, but with a 3.61 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, he can definitely add depth and leadership to any major league roster. Hamels, however, has a limited no trade clause in his contract that is paying him $22.5 million this season that includes the Yankees, Dodgers, Angels and more. The Phillies are not on the no trade list, however. If you remember, he was once their ace pitcher en route to their last World Series victory, ultimately earning the series MVP. The Phillies have a young budding rotation and could benefit from adding a respected veteran from the past, if Philly is willing to part with a prospect or two. They have a few rising stars in their stacked farm system such as Adonis Medina (RHP), J. P. Crawford (SS), JoJo Romero (LHP), and expect the Rangers to target one if Hamels agrees to return to the team where he earned his stripes.
Adrian Beltre, (sigh). No one wants to see Beltre retire as a Texas Ranger more than I do, but we as fans need to remember its a business. AB is on his final year of his contract and he is deserving of a chance at a World Series ring. The question again, to trade, or not to trade. Now Beltre is not the only third baseman on the market, joining the likes of Orioles star Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson, and Mike Moustakas on the trade market. Beltre though, is a much better hitter than people realize at age 39, slashing .309 at the plate despite seeing a drop in power numbers. A more likely candidate for Beltre would be a team such as Boston, who would consider him and upgrade from Eduardo Nunez. Now the asking price and what anyone would give up for Beltre is the question. No one wants to give up a potential big league starter for a 39 yr old future Hall of Famer on the last leg of his contract. So the Rangers will have to weigh the options: do we trade Beltre for a high-A baller and a chicken sandwich? Or do we wait for the market to dry up and have a team REALLY come after him. The answer is in between. You don’t want to sell low, but if you don’t trade him, he’s more than likely walking this offseason to a championship contender, so the Rangers can’t get picky now. With Beltre, it has become a waiting game.
One strength of the Rangers has been the bullpen. Jake Diekman has had a rough week, but don’t let that fool you into believing he’s not effective. He still sports an ERA under 4.00 and has 35 strikeouts in 34 games. So he’s still effective for a team that needs a lefty reliever like the Yankees or Red Sox.
Keona Kela on the other hand, is much more attractive converting 20 of 20 save opportunities this season. He has an ERA of 3.41 and WHIP of 1.10, but he’s perfect when given a chance for the save. He can immediately step into the closer role which would automatically boost his value. Teams like the Cubs, Dodgers, Indians, and even in division Astros could make a play at Kela for bullpen depth.
Would you let go of Jurikson Profar while his value is sky high? The super utility player in Profar could be attractive for teams playing hurt. He fills in nicely anywhere on the diamond, is hitting .237 with 8 HR, 42 RBI, and 39 Runs scored. He has had issues at the plate early in his career, failing to recognize pitches out of the hand, but has proven to be developing and playing at a higher level that can help any team interested. Profar, if you remember, wanted to be traded to be an everyday player for another team. He has since become exactly that, due to injuries and struggles of teammates Joey Gallo and Rougie Odor. So with value to his name, Texas would be naïve not to listen to potential offers.
Elvis Andrus has been that fan favorite for most Ranger fans playing alongside Adrian Beltre. Last year he found his power stroke and hit career highs 20 HR and 88 RBI, but has been hit with the injury bug this season hitting .264 in 87 at bats with 2 HR and only 7 RBI. He has yet to steal a base this year, but he may just need some time to adjust coming from his elbow injury. While he’s struggling right now, he remains in the top 8 at his position in the league, and plays with great attitude and leadership. Elvis can easily break out of his slump after the All-Star break and become an immediate asset to a contender. A reason to trade Elvis is his contract status. He can opt out of his contract after this year (which seems highly unlikely since he’s well loved here) and go play for a championship contender immediately. So will Texas beat Elvis to the punch? Will they trust him to stay in town during this rebuild? To trade, or not to trade? THAT is the question.