Today we’re talking baseball! There is no hotter sport than the great summer classic. MLB. The Texas Rangers. The looming trade deadline – we are just about one week out. What’s going on? Let’s set the scene for those who may not be up-to-date on all the goings on, from the Rangers aspect at least. There are a few key names that will be rolling off the tongue: Zach Greinke, Cole Hamels, Jurickson Profar, Mike Olt. Those are the key players. Greinke and Hamels are ace pitchers, but they are “rent-a-players.” They are both in their last year of their contracts with the Brewers and Phillies, respectively, and they are highly unlikely to re-sign here after the season. I think of the two, Greinke has a higher chance of being re-signed, if the Rangers pursued him, but that would be unlikely if they decide to pursue Josh Hamilton.
Zach Greinke: 28 years old, former AL Cy Young winner (2009). Throws a hard 4-seam fastball around 92-96 and uses the 2-seam fastball in hitter friendly parks to induce more ground ball outs – not a bad idea at the Temple (the Rangers Ballpark In Arlington) – a curve, a slow curve, and a devastating slider. The slider and the 2-seamer would be especially effective here. He does have some problems though. One that worries me most is that his fastball velocity has dipped. Maybe it’s just fatigue, maybe it’s more. The last thing the Rangers want to do is trade off top prospects for a guy that’s going to go on the DL for the remainder of the season! He is also a bit of a head case with social anxiety disorder and depression. These are certainly no laughing matter, but I don’t think that scares the Rangers one bit. Heck…they traded for Josh Hamilton.
Cole Hamels: 28 years old, 2008 NLCS and World Series MVP (with a 4-0 postseason record then). Throws a 4-seam fastball in the low 90s, circle change, curve, and cut fastball. What stands out to me is the postseason success – that’s what the Rangers need. No game is guaranteed, but I really like putting the ball in Hamels’ hand in Game 1 of each series. There isn’t much that worries me about Hamels. He would almost certainly not re-sign here, even with the Rangers pursuing, but that’s OK. I see him in Dodger blue and gray next season.
Now you know the pieces the Rangers are interested in. Both have been scouted by the Rangers and calls have been made. But who would the Rangers trade off? That, I can’t tell you. The Rangers farm system is so deep that they don’t have to give away their top couple of prospects to make a deal happen. But here are my thoughts on those top two…
Jurickson Profar: 19 years old, SS. Profar goes no where. He will enter the majors with “Texas” across his chest and a “T” on his cap. Profar is truly untouchable. While we do have a log jam at shortstop, Elvis won’t be with us much longer. I love the guy; he’s so much fun to watch. He loves the game and it really shows. He’s a great “locker room guy”. But he’s a Scott Boras client, and Boras clients go for the money. The Rangers don’t even want to deal with Boras. So Profar stays, waiting in the shadows…honing his game. Then, when Elvis is in the final year of his contract and the trade deadline comes calling, maybe the Rangers become sellers and can trade Elvis for some top prospects to replace the ones they trade off for Hamels or Greinke.
Mike Olt: 23 years old, 3B. I hear how he is untouchable, but I don’t think he really is. Adrian Beltre is here for 4 more seasons at least. Olt wouldn’t touch the Rangers diamond unless he changes postions (possibly to 1B) or Beltre gets hurt, or until he is 27. I believe, when the Rangers say he is untouchable, they are merely polishing one of their many golden coins. I think Olt goes, but only if the trade is for Hamels. And if he does, I really don’t think we will ever regret it.
What else would the Rangers need to throw in? A young prospect pitcher would have to be in the deal. Who? I don’t know. Grimm, Perez, Scheppers? One of them could be mixed in. Grimm would be the one that I would hate to see go. I think he has it (whatever that “it” is). They would need more, but there are plenty to choose from.
Do the Rangers make a move? I don’t think they necessarily have to, but JD will pull the trigger and they will make a trade. It might be closer to July 31st, but it will happen. They will watch the next couple of starts out of Roy Oswalt and if he shines, maybe the Rangers stand pat. If he continues to faulter? Well…
Bring on Hamels. If you are going to rent a player for a World Series push, he is better suited for the task.
Here’s what I say JD: send Olt and Perez and maybe some younger guys to Philly, and bring in Hamels. If you need me to go help him pack, just let me know – let’s make it happen! We are stocked for the future, but we want to win NOW. Let’s leave nothing on the field.