Disclaimer: I am a huge conspiracy theorist when it comes to baseball and trades.
In honor of today being a normal trade deadline day, my cranium started plotting some moves the Ranger just made.
First let’s study the facts that surround trading players in this crazy thing I call, “COVID baseball 2020”.
1) Trade Deadline is August 31, 2020.
Not the usual July 31st
2) Players can only be traded who are on the 60-man active roster or taxi squad.
This means stocking up on lower-level talent isn’t likely
3) We are only one week into the season.
Any team looking to make a move, already knows they have a hole to fill or extra player that is expendable
After one week in the season, the Rangers are 2-3. But they are only half a game back of leading the American League West. One thing is certain. The west can be won by any of the teams if they can put together the right combo of pitching and hitting in a shortened season.
So, where am I going with this?
The Rangers pitching staff has been the highlight of their first five games. Even with the injuries to Cory Kluber and Jose Leclerc, there are signs that their staff can keep them in games most nights. Up until Wednesdays 8th inning run barrage, the offense was showing no real life. In fact, some of the players being counted on to produce this year look lost at the plate.
Willie Calhoun & Danny Santana come to mind. Granted, Calhoun is coming back from an injury that has him still working on his timing. However, with two strikes Danny Santana looks like he expects to strikeout. Unless Santana finds his groove the Rangers need to find a bat. They also need a closer and possibly a starter. Now there are some potential internal candidates to fill the void. Scott Heineman is a good center fielder with some power. There has been some real spark out of the best defensive center fielder in the organization, Leody Taveras. Jonathan Hernandez, Nick Goody, Jesse Chavez or Demarcus Evans are potential closers. Maybe even Joe Palumbo could go to the back of the bullpen. (That’s a different story)
Today the Rangers made some moves that caught my attention. The expected move was Jose Leclerc to the 45-day IL. To correspond with that move, Texas is activating Brett Martin from the COVID IL list. Guzman was sent out to the alternative practice squad and Greg Bird is expected to be purchased. (That means a 40 man roster move has to be made also) Then the Rangers made two moves that raised my eyebrows. They brought Jason Bahr and Ronny Henriquez to the alternative camp, for the taxi squad or 60-man active roster. The reasoning? With no minor leagues this year, they can still get some work in.
LIZARD BRAIN ALERT!
While true that this way Bahr and Henriquez can still get in some work. Why don’t Hans Crouse, Rickey Vanasco, and Cole Winn need work? After all, they are more highly regarded pitching prospects than Bahr and Henriquez. They are also not going to play any minor league games this year. Here is a thought. Winn, Crouse, and Vanasco are also rather untouchable when it comes to prospects. If number 2 on my list is a factor when it comes to trades this year, that means that Bahr and Henriquez are eligible to be moved.
The more likely scenario is that I am just grasping and trying to make something out of nothing.
It’s more fun to layout some trade ideas.
*Keep in mind, I am using Bahr and Henriquez in any deal.
Jason Bahr to Tampa Bay for CF Kevin Kiermaier
The Rays made a deal with San Diego this winter for Manual Margot. Kiermaier has been in the big leagues for about 8 years with a career .249 average and .721 OPS. He also has a little pop on his bat. He has played a lot of center field but can play everywhere in the outfield.
He is signed through 2022 with an option for 2023. Tampa has always stockpiled pitching and Jason Bahr had a very good season on the mound in 2019. He went 10-4 with a 2.53 ERA over 23 starts. An even swap would benefit both teams.
Ronny Henriquez and Jason Bahr to New York Yankees for 3B Miguel Andujar
Andujar had a breakout year in 2018 hitting .297 with a .855 OPS and 27 HRs. He injured his shoulder and missed most of 2019. He is backing up Gio Ursula this year and has only 5 AB’s. Ronny Henriquez is a small flame thrower at 5’11 and 155 lbs. But he struck out 99 hitters last year in only 82 innings while starting 19 games for Hickory. Bahr stats above.
Ronny Henriquez, Scott Heineman, and Jason Bahr to Kansas City for Ian Kennedy, Whit Merrifield and Maikel Franco
Kennedy could fill the void at closer that the Leclerc injury opens up. Franco is a power bat that plays both third and first and is backing up at both. Merrifield is signed through 2022 with an option for 2023. He is an above-average center fielder who hits for average and some pop.
In exchange, the Royals are rebuilding with Cleveland and Minnesota at the top of that division. They get two quality starting pitching prospects along with a cheaper center fielder in Heineman. The value to KC would be Texas taking on the Kennedy and Merrifield contracts.
Jason Bahr and Ronny Henrique to the San Francisco Giants for Evan Longoria and $17 million
Longoria is signed through 2022. He is owed about $37 over the next two years. That would put the Rangers on the hook for $20 million over the next two years. Texas most likely wouldn’t pick up the $13 million dollar option for 2023. Texas would have another corner infielder, DH right-handed bat. Longoria’s production has fallen off since his glory days in Tampa Bay, but he is worth $10 million a year to be a big bat in the middle of the lineup.
He has a career .267 average with a career .809 OPS. Chances are he won’t provide those numbers at age 35 and 36, but he is still capable of numbers worth $20 million over the next two years.
Well, there it is. Do what you want with my crazy theories. One thing for certain. Watch what minor leaguers get moved to the taxi squad. Chances are they are most likely just getting some extra work like the Rangers are saying. But you never know. For me, my lizard brain needs to be fed crazy ideas.
Take it for what it’s worth.
I am after all the guy who said the Colts would rue the day they chose Peyton Manning over Ryan Leaf.
Featured Image: Ernie Masche / Ronny Henriquez