Texas Rangers trade rumors: The Cleveland Indians have extra starting pitching and need bullpen help, and the Texas Rangers have a strong bullpen but could use an upgrade at the #5 starter spot. That synchronicity has put the teams in a position where Evan Grant reports the teams are talking about a possible swap of pitchers.
Evan notes that the Rangers has pursued possible reliever for starter deals throughout the offseason, including a pursuit of D-Backs starting pitcher Archie Bradley, and identifies Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin and Cody Anderson as possible targets.
Bauer, 25, is the sexy name of the group...he was the #3 overall pick in the 2011 draft, and lights up the radar gun. However, he's also developed a reputation for having coachability issues, and he's out of options, so the Rangers wouldn't have a ton of flexibility in their roster maneuverability if they were to land him. He also led the A.L. in walks last year while putting up a 4.55 ERA and a 4.33 FIP. He's an intriguing pitcher, but the price and lack of flexibility may make him less attractive, although Cleveland currently has him slated for the bullpen, so he may be viewed as more expendable by the Indians.
Tomlin, 31, is a Texas native who also can't be optioned. He has a career 4.65 ERA and 4.44 FIP, and while he put up a gaudy 3.02 ERA in 10 starts last year, he put up those numbers with a 4.43 FIP. Tomlin is in the first year of a 2 year, $5.5M deal, with a 2018 team option. He seems like a swingman type, and again, wouldn't seem like a good fit.
Anderson, meanwhile, is a 25 year old who made his major league debut last year. Like Tomlin, he had a big ERA/FIP split (3.05 ERA vs. 4.27 FIP), and the big righty didn't miss many bats last year in the majors (or, over his career, in the minors). That said, he's cheap, he has options remaining, and he's under team control for a while, so if the Rangers are looking for a "depth" guy, he may fit the bill.
As far as relievers Texas could part with go, Sam Freeman has been designated for assignment, so I'm sure they'd be happy to include him in a deal. I'm also sure that the Indians aren't going to give up any of those three for Freeman. If the Rangers were to part with a reliever with major league experience -- a guy the Indians, who are looking to contend, felt they could rely upon now -- Tom Wilhelmsen might be the odd man out. Texas seems to like him, but he also was an offseason trade acquisition, and you have to think they'd be more willing to part with someone they haven't gone to war with yet. Wilhelmsen also is making $3.1M this year, and will be a free agent after 2017.
If everyone stays healthy the #5 starter will be out of a job come late May anyway, since Yu Darvish is expected around then...that's a big part of why I tend to believe the Rangers would be looking at someone with options, who they could send down once Yu returns without losing. Or they could simply figure, by late May, someone will be hurt anyway, so why worry about a guy being out of options?
Anyway...something to keep an eye on over the next day or two...