MLB Trade Rumors: Nate Lowe is heading to the Texas Rangers from the Tampa Bay Rays, with Heriberto Hernandez going to the Rays in a trade that will apparently include other players, per Mark Feinsand on Twitter.
Lowe, 25, is a lefthanded hitting first baseman who was a 13th round pick of the Rays out of Mississippi State in 2016. He was #97 in the Baseball America top 100 prospect rankings after the 2018 season, on the heels of a campaign that saw him slash .330/.416/.568 between high-A, AA and AAA.
Lowe split 2019 between AAA and the majors, as well as spending time in the majors in 2020. He has a career .251/.322/.447 slash line, good for a 107 OPS+, in 245 plate appearances in the majors. He also has, per B-R, a six full years of team control remaining.
My guess is that Lowe is now the Rangers’ Opening Day first baseman, supplanting Ronald Guzman, and putting Guzman’s future with Texas in question. Alternatively, Lowe could potentially be a DH, with Willie Calhoun going to left field (and Nick Solak playing second base).
Heriberto Hernandez, the one player from the Rangers side who has been identified, is a righthanded bat-only guy who used to be a catcher, but is a OF/DH full time now. He turns 21 next week, and has crushed the ball in short season ball.
There will, no doubt, be folks asking why the rebuilding Rangers would be trading any prospects right now. The short answer here would seem to be, because they are getting a young major league in return with years of control left, and because they have a lot of young guys in the lower levels to deal from. Hernandez is a good prospect, but the Rangers have a lot of good prospects in his age and experience range, and so they are dealing from something of an organizational surplus in that regard.
UPDATE — Evan Grant confirms that Lowe is heading to Texas.
UPDATE II — Jeff Wilson says it is a six player deal, and Osleivis Basabe is also in the trade, going from Texas to Tampa. Basabe is a well-regarded infielder who played mostly shortstop in the AZL as an 18 year old in 2019, putting up a 759 OPS before going to Spokane at the end of the year for their end of season and playoffs.
Marc Topkin says there are 5-6 minor leaguers, all at A ball or lower, who are in the deal, along with Lowe. He also says a PTBNL or cash will be “likely” going to Texas.
UPDATE III — And the deal is official: Nate Lowe, Jake Guenther and a player to be named later from the Rays to the Rangers for Osleivis Basabe, Heriberto Hernandez and Alexander Ovalles.
The Rangers now have a full 40 man roster.