MLB Trade Rumors: The Texas Ranges have been one of the big surprises of this season, sitting at 35-30 after last night’s win against the Boston Red Sox. Texas still seems like a long shot to make the playoffs — Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus both have the Rangers in the 3-5% range for making the playoffs — but as of right now, the Rangers have the Wild Card 2 spot, and are two games up on Boston and Cleveland.
Jon Paul Morosi says that the Rangers have been looking at both buy and sell scenarios, but right now, says buying is becoming “more likely.”
Sources: #Rangers have been preparing “buy” and “sell” trade deadline scenarios this year, but buying is becoming more likely, as Texas holds a playoff spot despite an inconsistent rotation. For now, Rangers are evaluating controllable starters. @MLB @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 11, 2019
Morosi saying the Rangers are seeking controllable starters makes sense, as that has probably been true of the Rangers for the last 30 years. That said, the number of quality starters out there under team control is relatively slim, and the Rangers farm system at this point is more quantity than quality, making it hard for them to put together the type of package that a good starting pitcher under team control for several years is likely to command.
The most likely scenario, were the Rangers to become buyers, would be to pursue decent pitchers whose contracts are such that they wouldn’t command a significant return in talent. We have previously discussed Mike Leake as someone who might be of interest, if the Mariners subsidized some of his contract. Jeff Samardzija is making $19 million this year and next year and hasn’t been good, though he could be of interest if the Giants absorbed a significant amount of his contract. And of course there is Jon Daniels’ white whale, Zack Greinke, who is under contract through 2021 at $35 million per year.
If the Rangers do slump, and a wild card berth appears less likely, Mike Minor would obviously be the shiniest chip the Rangers would have to trade, though it is hard to get a good handle on what his market would be. Texas would seem to have interest in an extension, potentially, though Minor would likely use Miles Mikolas’s 4 year, $68 million deal as a benchmark, and I’m skeptical Texas would want to go four years.
That said, even if — potentially, especially if — the Rangers deal Minor, they’d be in the market for starting pitching help. Someone has to absorb some innings, and even if you believe in Ariel Jurado and Adrian Sampson, there’s a hole in the rotation that needs plugging, and dealing Minor would simply make it bigger. I wouldn’t expect a major move, but if Texas keeps it close, you could see some minor pieces go in a deal to get a functioning, reliable starter in who can be penciled in beyond 2019.