Texas Rangers Trade Deadline Preview

Derek Lien
Derek Lien 11 Min Read

June is here, and the Rangers are managing to stay afloat in the AL West race (though they certainly aren’t treading water with ease). Currently, the Rangers sit 9.0 games behind the Mariners for the division lead, and trail the Twins by 7.0 games for the final Wild Card spot.

There are 90 games remaining on the schedule which is more than enough time to put scoreboard watching on the back-burner. However, it’s no surprise that Rangers fans have been beyond disappointed with the teams performance thus far.

Sitting around the middle of all MLB is the Rangers offense who ranks 18th in overall batting average at .237. They’re OBP, SLG and OPS are all down from last season (which is true for all of baseball this season), and currently sit at .306, .369, and .675 respectively.

The main surprise in 2024 has been the starting rotation, which many felt would be the biggest hurdle given the starters on the IL (deGrom, Scherzer, Mahle and stints by Eovaldi, Gray, Dunning). Jon Gray has looked like one of the best starters in all of baseball posting a 1.24 ERA in April and 1.85 ERA in May (let’s hope last night was a fluke).

Jose Urena continues to be a solid off-season acquisition, continuing to excel in his recent starts following the injuries to Eovaldi/Gray/Dunning. One of the biggest strengths to his game in 2024 has been the ability to produce ground balls at a rate of 49% and a 36% Whiff% on his slider.

The elephant in the room continues to be the offense, and just when they seem to be clicking as a whole, they fall back into minimal production the following night. The latest being a 15-2 clunker in the series opener with the Dodgers and a 14-2 embarrasment in the series opener with the Mets.

It’s no doubt Josh Jung has been missed, as was Corey Seager who’s bat has finally come to life this season. Marcus Semien has been a weapon all year in the leadoff spot, and Duran has also made the most of his recent playing time. Josh Smith may be the most deserving Ranger to make the All-Star team in 2024, even with his lack of power.

Adolis Garcia started the season off continuing to drive in runs like he did during the 2023 postseason. However, his mortality has started to show as he continues his weeks long slump at the plate. Garcia has also made some defensive errors this season that are uncharacteristic to his game, but he’s equally saved some runs with his arm.

The biggest concern for Garcia appears to be his “pressing” at the plate and trying to power his way out of the slump rather than settle back into his basic swing. It’s no secret El Bombi has more than enough power at the plate, but that doesn’t translate when his Chase% and Whiff % are 34.5 and 32.5 respectively.

With the arrival of the summer months, there’s a new opportunity to flush the first portion of the season and start anew. Recent games would indicate the offense is on the rise, and as players such as Jung, Scherzer, and Mahle (among others) return to the lineup, the light at the end of the tunnel appears to be getting much brighter.

Summer months also bring about the Trade Deadline, and the Rangers certainly can benefit from being buyers again this season. Internally, they have their own trade deadline acquisitions on the way which might be all they need to make a run at postseason play. With the return of Jacob deGrom, Tyler Mahle and Max Scherzer to the starting rotation, current starters might be the solution to fixing any bullpen woes the team possesses.

Andrew Heaney has been solid and striking out batters at a higher rate in 2024, but could likely be more of an asset in the bullpen as he was during last year’s postseason. Dane Dunning and Jose Urena will also see their roles shift to relief appearances where their breaking pitches can play at a higher rate of effectiveness. Michael Lorenzen is the wild card in this scenario as it’s unsure whether he is a better asset to the rotation, or if they may opt to move him to relief for a LHP option in Heaney or Bradford.

Josh Jung’s return should spark the offense and bring some much needed pop back into the middle of the order. Evan Carter should continue to get healthy and return to a similar form of his 2023 self. Wyatt Langford is barreling up more pitches with each game, and is likely to start seeing his HR numbers increase. However, none of this completely takes the Rangers out of the market for an extra bat this Trade Deadline.

So should they look externally, I’ve put my Couch GM hat on and would suggest the following as potential options:

OFFENSIVE ADDITIONS:

J.D. Martinez (NY Mets)

Martinez got off to a sluggish start in his debut season with the Mets, but has arguably been one of their hottest hitters as of late. The 36-year old DH is slugging .512 this season and hitting .315 in the month of June. More importantly for the Rangers, he is hitting .340 against lefties and would provide more power in that role than the Rangers are currently getting from Robbie Grossman. Martinez is also on a 1-year contract with the Mets, so it’s not likely to cost the farm should the Rangers pounce on him.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR Blue Jays)

This one makes sense for the Rangers if you’re not entirely sold on what the team currently possesses, nor what you’re developing in the farm system. Guerrero is certainly a bat that makes a ton of sense in the Rangers lineup, but is it worth giving up on Nathaniel Lowe for? In addition, do you then think Guerrero is a better long term commitment than that of Justin Foscue, Blaine Crim or Dustin Harris? If you believe in Guerrero and are willing to part with a handful of top prospects (Guerrero has another year of team control), then I’m all for it.

BULLPEN ADDITIONS:

Mason Miller (OAK Athletics)

For the sake of not leaving any options off the table, Miller has to be in the conversation of possible acquisitions. What he is doing in Oakland this season is more than eye opening, especially when you finally lay eyes on his 100+mph fastball. Miller boasts a 2.27 ERA over his 31.2IP and averaging 15.92 K/9 this season. He is arguably the best reliever in baseball this season, and nearly every team in contention will be making a call to the Athletics front office to hear their asking price.

Declan Cronin (MIA Marlins)

Another Rookie on the list, Cronin has been very impressive with the Marlins in 2024. In 34 innings pitched this season he’s struck out 32 batters and holds a 1.35 WHIP. Cronin has not yet allowed a HR in 2024 and possesses above-average run on his fastball and breaking pitches. Given his team control, it will take a decent return for the Marlins to part with the young reliever, but that shouldn’t include many top prospects given his traveled journey in the league thus far.

Kyle Finnegan (WAS Nationals)

Kirby Yates has been excellent in the closing role thus far for the Rangers, but who says no to adding another quality closer to the bullpen? Finnegan has 20 saves this season along with a 1.78 ERA. He has above-average run on all of his pitches and produces weak, ground ball contact. There is still a year of team control in his final year of arbitration, but if the Nationals are willing to part with their closer it makes all the sense for the Rangers to load up.

Cade Smith (CLE Guardians)

Smith is also in his first MLB season with the Cleveland Guardians, but is performing incredibly well thus far. His stats trail only Emmanuel Clase on the team as far as relief pitchers are concerned. His 1.67 ERA over 32.1 innings is one of the best in all of baseball, giving him a current 1.1 WAR. He has struck out 43 batters and walked only 7 thus far. He has one of the best fastball run rankings in all of baseball, as his his extension off the mound. It will take some prospects as he’s not eligible for free agency until 2030, but he appears to be worth the investment.

About

Covering the Texas Rangers farm system since 2019. Credentialed media with the Frisco RoughRiders.

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Die-hard Rangers fan from the Upper Midwest. Growing up in an area with no professional sports teams, you have to look elsewhere for your fandom...lucky for me I found the Rangers!
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