In a brief series, we'll take a look at possible trade deadline targets for the Texas Rangers after perhaps their top target, Cole Hamels, has re-signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.
When Cole Hamels struck a late-night deal for 6 years in excess of $140 million with his current club, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Texas Rangers, and several other teams had to collectively hang their head for at least a brief while.
Hamels was the top name out on the trade market in regards to starting pitchers and seemed a sure bet to be dealt considering the Phillies' struggles this season. But Hamels decided to re-up and hope they can turn things around this year and if not, build up for another run next season.
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So where does that leave the Rangers, who are trying to make up for the loss of Colby Lewis and the faulty back of Roy Oswalt? Well, the next-best name on the list, by most accounts, is Milwaukee Brewers starter Zack Greinke.
Greinke is an interesting case. He's long been doubted as a guy who can perform in a pressure environment, hence his career spanning Kansas City and Milwaukee. He even was publicly treated for an anxiety disorder forcing many to question whether he could ever play in say, New York or Boston, or with their recent surge, the Rangers?
Greinke is 9-3 this season for the Brewers with a 3.44 ERA and has made 21 starts, a league-leading number that has caused some folks to question whether he's been overworked. He won the Cy Young Award in 2009, despite playing for an awful Royals team when he put up a 2.16 ERA with 242 strikeouts.
And talk about striking while the iron's hot, the Brewers had to be thrilled when he went out and outdueled Cliff Lee on Tuesday night in a game that the Phillies eventually came back and won against the Brewers' putrid bullpen. Greinke gave up three hits in seven innings and one run with five strikeouts and no walks. He also hit a home run off Lee, becoming the first pitcher to ever take Lee deep.
There's no doubt Greinke is the Rangers' main target now, as it's been said they don't have much interest in someone who couldn't be a top-of-the-rotation guy. There's only two guys left like that, and that's Greinke and Josh Johnson, and Johnson is coming off an injury and doesn't seem quite back to ace status yet.
2012 stats: 9-3, 3.44 ERA, 122 strikeouts, 28 walks, 1.20 WHIP
Likelihood of becoming a Ranger (on scale of 1-10): 7 (before Hamels re-signed, it was a 6)
Pros: Best guy going on the trade market right now, would go to No. 1 in the rotation
Cons: Would cost a lot in the way of prospects and either Martin Perez or Neftali Feliz, would be a rented player as he'd be unlikely to re-sign following the season