Last week, I put together a list of 10 players I thought the Texas Rangers might consider acquiring before the July 31 trade deadline. I talked about names like David Price, Giancarlo Stanton and Tyler Clippard, among several others. This week, there are a few changes, and most of them have to do with my unwillingness, or perhaps unwillingness of the Rangers themselves, to trade young Jurickson Profar.
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So, with that being said, I put together volume two and updated the players on the list. You’ll see new names atop the list and a few new names in general. Most of the names on the list are players you can acquire without giving up some of the best players in the minor league system. Just because you don’t get a Stanton, or perhaps Price, doesn’t mean the Texas Rangers can’t acquire one of two of the following names and still get the kind of output they would need to make a run at the organization’s very first World Series championship.
1. Kyle Kendrick, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
Last week: Not Ranked
Analysis: I had David Price atop the list last week, but the more I began to think about it, the less it made sense to send the best prospect in the Texas Rangers farm system (Profar) to Tampa for a guy you may only have until after the 2015 season. Two years of a top-of-the-rotation pitcher or six years of what could arguably be the best talent fans have seen here in quite some time? As for Kendrick, there’s been a lot of talk about Cliff Lee and how he could be traded by the deadline. However, Lee can block a trade to 20 clubs, one of which is the Rangers, which throws a wrench into any plan to acquire him. So, it might be time to look at another Philly starter, a soon-to-be 29-year-old right-hander: Kendrick, who is under team control until after the 2014 season. He’s a pitcher the Texas Rangers can acquire without giving up their best prospect and a guy who has age on his side.
2. David Price, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays
Last week: No. 1
Analysis: While it might not make sense to trade Profar for Price, and as much as I think Profar will be the next big thing in Arlington, Price is still a guy I’d love to see the Texas Rangers acquire, as long as they don’t give up the best pieces in their farm system, especially that aforementioned guy I’ve talked about a few times already. There’s no question Price makes this rotation better and gives the Rangers arguably the best 1-2 punch not only in the American League but perhaps in all of baseball.
3. Matt Garza, RHP, Chicago Cubs
Last week: No. 6
Analysis: Garza is a guy the Rangers have flirted with in the past, and from what I saw of Justin Grimm against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night, the Rangers may need to strengthen one or two spots in the rotation. Garza is another strong right-hander, but he’s a definite injury risk. However, if the guy who threw a no-hitter as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays shows up for the Texas Rangers, it might be the best acquisition they could make at the deadline.
4. Alex Rios, OF, Chicago White Sox
Last week: No. 5
Analysis: Rios moves up one spot from last week as the corner outfield spot becomes a huge need for the Texas Rangers, especially if Major League Baseball decides to suspend Nelson Cruz, who’s among 20 or so players in its steroid crosshairs. If that suspension does come down, I for one am not going to trust the trio of Leonys Martin, Craig Gentry and David Murphy for the long haul. Especially since Martin is this side of terrible away from Rangers Ballpark, at least offensively, and Gentry isn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut either. You need a guy who can give the same kind of offensive power that you may lose with Cruz’s suspension, as well as someone who gives Texas better defense than what their current right fielder is giving them.
5. Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Cincinnati Reds
Last week: No. 3
Analysis: No matter how many times I’ve heard the phrase “Cincinnati won’t trade him,” I’m going to keep Choo on my list for a few different reasons. The first is I was told after the 2012 season concluded that the Indians were not going to trade Choo. Then, in December of that same year, the Indians dealt him to the Cincinnati Reds. If you read the quotes from Reds GM Walt Jocketty that I posted in last week’s piece, you’ll see Jocketty having a real concern about their ability to re-sign him. Not saying the Reds will absolutely deal him, but I wouldn’t put it past them if Jocketty is almost convinced he’d rather get something in return than watch Choo walk out the door for nothing.
6. Jake Peavy, RHP, Chicago White Sox
Last week: No. 2
Analysis: After finding a slight fracture in his rib, an injury that affected his start on Tuesday night, the Chicago White Sox have put him on the 15-day disabled list and expect the right-hander to miss anywhere between four and six weeks. Despite that, I still think Peavy might be a good acquisition and, with the injury, might have become a cheaper option than he might have been, say, three weeks ago. Even Peavy himself was asked about the possibility of being traded. “If we’re not in it, I have no problems being moved to a team who is in contention and trying to win a World Series, so I’ll go play anywhere. If it comes down to having and feeling like it’s best for them to move me, I’ll go play anywhere that feels like they have a chance. If a team’s going to trade for you, they feel like they have a chance and they’re trying to make the necessary moves.”
7. Cliff Lee, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies
Last week: No. 8
Analysis: Lee can block a trade to 20 different teams, one of which is the Texas Rangers. However, that doesn’t mean he won’t okay a deal back to Arlington, a place he’s already familiar with having been acquired by them before when he was a member of the Seattle Mariners. But, when asked about the possibility, Lee says his first choice is to remain a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. The one thing that turns me off about a potential deal for the left-hander is the amount of money left on his contract. The second would be the deal that Texas would have to put together just to entice Philadelphia to give him up. It’s a lot to put up for a mid-30s lefty who might still be good but I think there are better options out there.
8. Jared Burton, RHP, Minnesota Twins
Last week: No. 10
Analysis: With the struggles of Joe Ortiz and Michael Kirkman, the Texas Rangers need another solid reliever out of the bullpen not named Tanner Scheppers, Robbie Ross, Joe Nathan and, from time to time, Neal Cotts. You don’t want manager Ron Washington leaning on these four guys so hard they get burned out by the All-Star break or soon thereafter. The Minnesota Twins could be in a good position to be sellers at the deadline and Burton would be a good piece for the Texas Rangers to acquire. They need to strengthen their bullpen, and Wash needs more guys he can count on every time a game gets close.
9. Kelly Johnson, OF/1B, Tampa Bay Rays
Last week: Not ranked
Analysis: Johnson wasn’t on my list last week, but he’s there this week and for good reason. While Johnson has struggled thus far in June (1-for-10), he’s coming off a May that saw him hit .330 with seven home runs and 26 RBI. Not only that but Johnson is hitting .457 with runners in scoring position, .455 with runners in scoring position and two outs and .348 with runners on base. Those are all numbers the Texas Rangers could use, especially the one with runners in scoring position. He’s only on a one-year, $2.45 million deal he signed with the team in February of 2013, so he’s not going to cost much to acquire.
10. Luke Gregerson, RHP, San Diego Padres
Last week: Not ranked
Analysis: Yes, another member of the San Diego Padres is on my list and I’m putting him there for good reason. Last week, I had Clippard ranked pretty high, and even though Texas has had interest in him in the past, I’ve become less convinced that the Washington Nationals will sell off anything they’ll need for the stretch run. That being said, Gregerson is quietly putting together a solid season for San Diego. Even though his numbers might be a tad skewed because of PETCO Park, some said the same thing about Mike Adams when he was acquired by the Texas Rangers before the 2012 trade deadline, and he performed pretty well as the set-up man during his year and a half in Arlington. Gregerson has given up just three earned runs through 25.2 innings (1.05 ERA) and is holding opposing hitters to a .126 batting average. Those numbers alone should be worth giving him a look before July 31 comes around.