The Texas Rangers made a quick, big splash when they acquired right-handed Matt Garza.
That was nine days before the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline, when the Rangers sent three players plus one or two more to be named later to the Chicago Cubs. But that ended up being the only deal Texas made in that span, with no big bat added before losing All-Star right fielder Nelson Cruz to a 50-game suspension.
Still, the Rangers have won nine of their last 10 games to erase a six-game deficit and tie Oakland for the AL West lead.
Garza joined Yu Darvish and Derek Holland in a rotation that could also soon get back Matt Harrison, the opening-day starter coming back from two operations on a herniated disk in his lower back.
With Garza (1-1 with Texas, 7-2 overall) set to make his fourth start for the Rangers in the opener of four-game series at Houston on Friday night, here are the primary players in five in-season trades that helped shape Texas for making the playoffs the past three seasons, including its only two World Series appearances (2010-11):
-- SS Elvis Andrus, RHP Neftali Feliz and LHP Matt Harrison from Atlanta for 1B Mark Teixeira (July 31, 2007). When former first-round pick Teixeira turned down a big contract extension, the Rangers made sure not to lose him for nothing in free agency after that season. They got quite a haul from the Braves. Andrus, now still only 24, is already a two-time All-Star signed through 2022 with a vesting option for another year. Harrison won 18 games last season and got a new $55 million, five-year contract last winter. Feliz has been a hard-throwing closer and starter for Texas, but is recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery last August.
-- LHP Cliff Lee from Seattle for RHP Blake Beavan and 1B Justin Smoak (July 9, 2010). Like this year's deal for Garza, the Rangers made an early move to get arguably the best available pitcher on the market. Lee lost a complete game the day after being acquired, and was 4-6 with a 3.98 ERA in 15 regular-season starts for Texas. But he beat Tampa Bay twice in the AL division series and the New York Yankees in the AL championship series as Texas reached its first World Series.
-- RHP Koji Uehara from Baltimore for 1B Chris Davis and RHP Tommy Hunter (July 30, 2011); RHP Mike Adams from San Diego for two minor league pitchers (July 31, 2011). Texas bolstered its bullpen with trades on consecutive days on way to its second consecutive AL pennant. Uehara and Adams both stayed through the 2012 season before leaving in free agency. Davis is having a breakout season, an All-Star who leads the majors with 41 home runs and 106 RBIs, while Hunter is effective reliever for the Orioles.
-- C Bengie Molina from San Francisco for RHP Chris Ray (July 1, 2010). Molina finished his 13-season major league career with 57 games in Texas before making it to the World Series -- against the Giants. He hit a combined .333 in the ALDS and ALCS and still wound up with a World Series ring from San Francisco, his team the previous 3 ½ seasons.
-- OF Jeff Francoeur from the New York Mets for INF Joaquin Arias (Aug. 31, 2010). One of those rare trades after the non-waiver deadline, Francoeur hit .340 in 15 games down the stretch. He left in free agency after the season. Arias got to Texas before spring training in 2004 as the player to be named in the deal that sent Alex Rodriguez to the New York Yankees.