Imagine an office somewhere within Ranger’s Ballpark. Inside sits general manager Jon Daniels, CEO Nolan Ryan and the rest of the Texas Rangers’ management staff.
They stare at a white board with several names on it. The silence in the room is deafening; each person with a different expression on his or her face and each trying to come up with a way to acquire one or more of the names on the board.
You can see the “war room” playing out just like that.
There are plenty of names the Rangers will look at in order to better their situation because they know they can’t stand on what they have right now. They just aren’t strong enough to sustain the stretch run to the playoffs.
The offense, at least at this point, is fine as is. You have speed on the base paths and power in the middle of the lineup. Your run production isn’t lacking, at least not every night, so there’s no reason to change that dynamic.
Where the problems lie for this team is their pitching. From the rotation to the bullpen, Daniels knows there are changes that need to be made. More so in the bullpen than the rotation.
“I think the bullpen will definitely be a focus, first focus,” Daniels told Jim Bowden and Casey Stern on MLB Network Radio. “You’re always open to anything. But that’s probably where we’ve spent the most of our time.”
The Rangers have plenty of trade chips to deal away, guys who aren’t going to make a huge impact to the team down the stretch and guys they can afford to deal.
We’ve talked about the names I’ve wanted to bring in to help the Rangers’ bullpen, but how about the guys they could deal away for those players? Who could the Rangers give up and not miss (a la Justin Smoak)?
C Taylor Teagarden — .190 (4/21), 7 K
Teagarden hasn’t been quite the player the Rangers had hoped he might become. After hitting .319 (15/47) in his first season with the Rangers back in 2008, Teagarden has struggled in each of his last three seasons with the team, hitting no better than .217, which came back in 2009.
But while he struggles in the big leagues, he has torched triple-A pitching. Through 24 games (86 ABs) with Round Rock, Teagarden is hitting .326 with 9 HR and 18 RBI.
The San Francisco Giants are looking for catching, especially after the season-ending injury sustained by Buster Posey. They’ve tried the duo of Chris Stewart and Eli Whiteside, but neither are cutting it, no pun intended, at the plate. Teagarden is a name that has come up but I don’t know that the Giants would give up anymore more than a mid-level prospect at this point. Teagarden’s value just isn’t high at all right now.
OF David Murphy — .233 (47/202), 4 HR, 15 RBI, 32 K
Murphy has, at times, come in to the Rangers lineup and given the offense the boost it’s needed. He’s come up with a big hit here or there. Unfortunately, it’s not going to keep him out of the trade discussions at the deadline.
Murphy is a guy who is going to get interest from teams looking for an experienced veteran in their lineup and a guy who could play the outfield on an everyday basis. Something he’s not going to get with the Rangers. Especially with Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Mitch Moreland, Endy Chavez and Craig Gentry all able to play the same positions.
MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan wrote back in late May how Murphy could be used by other teams in need of an outfielder.
OF Craig Gentry — .270 (17/63), 0 HR, 6 RBI, 9/9 SB
Gentry has burst on to the scene with the Rangers in 2011 showing off his tremendous speed not only on the base paths but also in the outfield as well.
While he’s not a guy who’s going to hit 20-25 home runs every season, he is a guy who can get on base and make things happen. He’s shown that in Texas this season going 9-for-9 in stolen base attempts.
He’s not a guy the Rangers are going to want to deal in any trade scenario because of the potential he’s shown. But there are teams who are going to ask for the soon-to-be 28-year-old outfielder.
1B/3B/OF Chris Davis — .269 (14/52), 3 HR 4 RBI 18 K’s
Davis is a guy who’s getting a lot of talk as the trade deadline gets closer, especially from Ranger fans who fully expect him to be dealt.
The way he’s playing at triple-A Round Rock right now, he’s doing everything to help his value, as well as help the Rangers play him up to teams in need of a power hitter who can play the corner infield spots and the outfield.
Davis has 19 home runs and 52 RBI this season for the Express. Unfortunately, that same production hasn’t appeared when he’s called up to the big leagues. But his minor league numbers have never translated to the big leagues. He doesn’t face the kind of pitching in the AL West that he kills in the minor leagues.
But despite all that, he is going to get a lot of interest from teams who are looking for an everyday player who can play both the infield and outfield.
The Rangers may use him in their biggest deal at the deadline.
SS Jurickson Profar — .269 (60/223), 7 HR, 31 RBI
Profar is a young prospect currently with the Hickory Crawdads, the Rangers single-A affiliate in the South Atlantic League. He is one of the top prospects in the Rangers farm system and a guy who is going to get a lot of interest, especially from a team on the west coast: The San Diego Padres.
Padres closer Heath Bell is getting a lot of interest from around baseball and especially from the Texas Rangers. Profar is going to be a guy the Padres are going to ask about and may even go as far as to require having him in the deal from Texas.
While I’m not one for “giving away the farm” for one player, the problem with Profar is being blocked by the position players in the big leagues right now.
Elvis Andrus currently occupies the short stop position and will probably be in a Rangers’ uniform for at least the next four to five years if not longer. Ian Kinsler is at second base but there’s a lot less guarantee with his future than Andrus’ so the question becomes, can Profar make the transition from short to second if he makes it to the big leagues in two to three years?
He is going to be an interesting name to watch over the next few weeks.