The MLB non-waiver trade deadline is Aug. 1 and the Texas Rangers, are among the playoff contenders looking to make a move(s). The big question for baseball fans across the country, which player is the best value?
Typically clubs have two options for late July trades.
1. Teams can break the bank to acquire a high-end player with several years left on their contract. Similar to what the Rangers did last year with Cole Hamels, although many believe the Rangers got great value on that trade.
2. Teams can trade far less, but you will acquire players who either are less talented or have an expiring contract. This is far more common.
So with that in mind, who should the Rangers be most eager to acquire?
When healthy, the Rangers have a solid group of starters, pitchers and position players included. Not to mention there are zero elite starting pitchers left on the market. Unless some team (surprisingly) is willing to unload a player that most baseball insiders do not believe to be on the market, the available starting pitchers are pretty forgettable.
Texas’ best option is likely just do whatever they can to make sure Colby Lewis and Derek Holland return to good health, instead of giving up a prospect(s) for someone that is less of a sure-thing than players already on the roster.
When it comes to position players there are talented players the Rangers could go after, but they do not have room for them. Unless they are willing to trade Jurickson Profar -- whom they could get excellent value for due to his versatility, youth, and recent success – there probably just is not a quality addition they can make to the lineup.
The one target that is logical, if the club is looking to shake up the lineup, is making a move for Jonathan Lucroy. He is the Milwaukee Brewers' 30-year-old catcher. Lucroy is an All-Star and under contract for another year if the team exercises his 2017 option. The price tag for Lucroy may be too high, though. The Rangers would likely have to give up Profar and other pieces, but it would be a significant upgrade to the Rangers current catching options.
The other possibilities are all in the pen. The most attractive names are the Yankee’s Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman. The Rangers have a bullpen ERA north of 5.00, which is good for second worst in the league. It is the biggest thing holding this team back, so either would be an improvement, but what would be best?
Andrew Miller is having the better season and under contract through 2018, but he’s older than and not quite as talented as Chapman. Aroldis, while not having the special season that Miller is having, is a rare MLB talent. He throws harder than anyone in baseball and he’s left-handed. He is also only 28, so you could theoretically get a lot of him in the future. Chapman is only under contract through this summer though. So how confident can you be that he will stay?
The key will be the price tag. Neither player is worth trading away the future, but if you think it will get you closer to winning a championship, what price is worth paying? I think Miller is the way to go. The team will have him under contract for longer (and at decent price), he is playing better right now, and there’s a chance you would not have to trade away the farm system to get him. It’s up to Jon Daniels, but the Rangers’ front office has shown they want to win and know the best way to do it.