With the Rangers in contention for the playoffs still, who should they go after? So many pieces could be helpful and even game-changing for this team. Combined with returns from injury and some possible transactions, this team could be in position for a playoff push.
Pitching, Pitching, Pitching
The Rangers have had a very solid season so far, sitting six games over .500 at this time at 42-36 heading into a favorable series against the Tigers. What’s funny is that we could be seeing a tryout in a sense, with two pitchers on the trade block with rumors swirling around their names. Matthew Boyd and Shane Greene have been thrown into the trade discussion for a horrid Detroit Tiger team sitting well below .500 for the season.
Boyd has a 5-5 record so far in the season before his start vs Texas, holding a 3.61 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP (Walks/Hits per Inning Pitched) in 94.2 innings pitched. He’s striking out hitters at a career high right now with a 30.1 strikeout percentage, which means out of every plate appearance he faces, 30.1% of them end in a strikeout against him. Boyd also has a super low 4.9% walk percentage, which is great considering the last 4 seasons he hasn’t had a walk rate below 7%. He would step in as the 4th starter behind Adrian Sampson in the rotation if he was acquired.
Shane Greene has been excellent this season, posting 21 saves with just 1 blown save in 22 opportunities. He’s on pace to surpass his career-high 32 saves from last year, and he’s blowing his competition out of the water this year. His 21 saves have been pretty important as the Tigers have only won 26 games so far this season, which is approximately 80% of their victories. His ERA of 0.93 (WOW) and a WHIP of .862 (Equally WOW) are easily his career highs. The price for him may be a top 100 prospect, but if the Rangers are planning to really push for the playoffs, and possibly even a World Series, they’re going to need so help in the bullpen.
Up next, the Mad Bum. Madison Bumgarner of 2019 is NOT the same Madison Bumgarner that kicked the Royals’ butt in the World Series en route to a World Series MVP, but he’s not terribly bad. His 4.28 ERA is a career high, er, low if you will, which is still higher than the back half of the rotation. Let’s compare the numbers between Bumgarner vs the Rangers.
- Madison Bumgarner: 3-7 4.28 ERA
- Adrian Sampson: 6-4, 4.14 ERA
- Ariel Jurado: 4-3, 4.44 ERA
- Shelby Miller: 1-3, 8.37 ERA
- Jeff Mathis: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 9 K/9….. (Those are actual stats, so maybe Jeff Mathis is the answer)
The price for Bumgarner would be high even though he’s struggling by his standards or anyone. The Giants would easily want 1 or 2 top 100 prospects plus a controllable piece for the near future. The price is high, and I doubt the Rangers will go for him, but it’s a nice thought.
Will Smith, the fresh prince of Bel-Aire, kidding. Will Smith is the closer for the Giants, and has 20 saves on the season in 31.1 innings pitched. He has been stellar on the road as well, holding opposing hitters to a batting average of just .070. That’s low, almost as low as Rougie’s batting average, ok ok, that was a low blow…. oops. The value on Smith has yet to be really determined. He’s a shut down closer, a rental, however, that is cheap on the market at just $4.225 million for the season. He’d be an immediate upgrade for a bullpen that has had it’s issues on the road. The price, though, will possibly be through the roof for a team that is already taking calls on the stud reliever. The question is always this: Are the Rangers willing to pay out to push forward to the playoffs?
Anyone remember Jake Diekman? Yea, he’s 0-5 with the Kansas City Royals, he has an ERA of 5.23, but does he need to find his way back home? Last time he was pitching here in Texas was in 2018 before he was shipped out to Arizona for some young prospects. The difference is his value was higher last year when he was 1-1 with a 3.69 ERA in 47 games, striking out 48 batters in just 39 innings pitched. The value is super low this year, and Jon Daniels has a tendency to find value in trades like this: low risk, high reward. The Royals could deal him in an attempt to obtain something before Diekman possibly becomes a free agent. His final year in 2020 on his contract contains a $500K buyout, and he would more than likely want to play for a contender, which is the Rangers right now.
With the All-Star break approaching, teams will want to decide whether they want to be buyers or sellers, and my money is on the Rangers turning into buyers before the deadline. Look for them to bolster their pitching staff in order to make a push during a season where the expectations of many have been surpassed.