Rangers Shouldn’t Panic with Trade Deadline Looming
The Texas Rangers are once again in 1st place of the AL West, with a 5 game lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Orange County California. The Rangers are also 1 game behind the Yankees for the best record in all of baseball, even with a rash of injuries in their pitching rotation. As they prepare to get Neftali Feliz back, and just got Ogando and Holland back, the Rangers looked healthy and ready for the 2nd half of the season. But on Monday, it was reported that Colby Lewis would miss the rest of the season due to injury. This means the opening day starter will not be able to help the Rangers go for a 3rd straight AL pennant, or grab the elusive World Series title.
Many experts, fans, and critics feel the injury to Colby Lewis all but guarantees that the Rangers will be looking for an Ace at the trade deadline. Even before the loss of Lewis, many insiders and fans felt that the Rangers needed an Ace to compete with the Angels and Yankees, who both have played will the last few weeks. Rumors of Cole Hammels, Zack Greinke, and even a return of Cliff Lee have all been thrown out there for the Rangers. Besides the loss of Lewis, another reason why these rumors are running rampant is the fact that the Rangers have a deep farm system, with two stud players in particular as trade bait, short stop Jurickson Profar, and 3rd basemen Mike Olt. Profar would be the starting short stop on half the teams in baseball today, and Olt seems like a gem, leading his league in home runs. On top of these two, the Rangers also have pitcher Martin Perez, who has made a few spot starts already for the Rangers, and Centerfielder Leonys Martin, who also has played a bit already in the Majors.
So, with bait to spare, a need in the rotation, and a desire to finally win a World Series, seems like a no brainer. Pull the trigger, trade for the Ace, and let’s get ready for October baseball. Before you dig into your closet and pull out that old Cliff Lee Rangers shirt, think about a few things. Only 1 out of the three “ACES” is signed for more than 1 year, and that’s the aging Cliff Lee. Lee has a monster contract, and if the Rangers do trade for Lee, they’d be on the hook to pay Lee a lot of money for 4 more years. So if you trade for the younger pitchers, Hammels or Greinke, you’d only be renting them. Are you willing to give up a potential star like Profar for a half year rental?
Speaking of the cost, the Rangers have built this back to back AL pennant winning team by developing its talent, not overpaying in free agency. With that said, some of these players are going to want a bigger contract soon, and none bigger than future free agent Josh Hamilton. Hamilton will command a monster deal, and the Rangers haven’t exactly said they’re willing to pay Hamilton, so we might very well be looking at Ham’s final season in Texas. If that’s the case, the Rangers are going to wish they kept Olt, Profar, and Martin.
Besides the price, I don’t feel there is a real need for an “ACE”. The Rangers have a deep rotation, even without Lewis the Rangers boast Harrison and Darvish, both all stars. Holland, who has struggled but showed in the World Series that he has the stuff. Former closer Neftali Feliz, people forget this kid was a blue chip prospect who might very well become the Ace of this staff. And don’t forget the Rangers signed Roy Oswalt. I know Oswalt isn’t what he used to be with the Astros, but Oswalt has said he’s finally in baseball shape, and looked sharp in his last start. The Rangers bullpen is as deep and good as it gets in baseball, with Closer Joe Nathan, Mike Adams, Alexi Ogando, and Robbie Ross. Also, Scott Feldman and Martin Perez have had solid spot starts, and don’t forget teams only use 4 pitchers in their playoff rotation. This means Darvish, Harrison, Holland and Oswalt could be the rotation, and now you have two all star closers at your disposal, Joe Nathan and Neftali Feliz.
Nolan Ryan, don’t panic, as of today you’re only 1 game behind the best record in baseball, you have a ton of talent in the farm, and even more talent on the roster. Unless a team is willing to give up an Ace for cheap, no need to break the bank, the Rangers will be fine.