The homestand isn’t over, but the notion that the Texas Rangers would build on their series win last weekend over the Kansas City Royals has lost some steam.
The Oakland A’s took the three-game series by rallying Wednesday against the hard-throwing but down-the-middle-throwing Matt Bush with four runs in the eighth inning. The Royals arrive Thursday for a four-game series.
Coco Crisp and Khris Davis, the newest Rangers nemesis, hit two-run homers off Bush, who hit 100 mph multiple times on the Globe Life Park radar gun but left them center cut.
So, the Rangers lost 6-4 and lost a game in the American League West standings to the Houston Astros, who trail again by 2 1/2 games.
It wasn’t all bad, though, and maybe another trade will make s all better.
Here’s some Rangers Reaction from Wednesday.
1. The Rangers made a trade Wednesday, generating the kind of excitement that comes with the annual arrival of the new phone book.
On the conference call with general manager Jon Daniels, a Baseball America reporter called right-hander Lucas Harrell and left-hander Dario Alvarez “rather fringy arms.”
“Apparently, it’s not a deal you would make,” Daniels said. “But we don’t view these guys as fringy guys.”
Harrell isn’t going to pitch like Chris Sale, but he’s not going to pitch like he did earlier in his career and he’s going to show more than Nick Martinez, Chi Chi Gonzalez and Kyle Lohse.
That’s a pretty low bar for Harrell to have to clear, but the Rangers will take it and need it.
They also need another starter and will continue to look for one. The trading period has reached the point where it seems all teams are at an impasse, but things should start to move this weekend.
Assuming the Rangers add another starter, Harrell might only be in the rotation until Colby Lewis is healthy. He said on Wednesday that should be in late August, a few days after he’s eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list.
Alvarez has a chance to be the key player in the trade if he can generate the frequent swings and misses he was getting with the Atlanta Braves. He won’t replace Jake Diekman was the top bullpen lefty, but Alvarez should be a good match-up lefty in the middle innings.
Perhaps curiously to some, manager Jeff Banister said that lefty Alex Claudio has a hold on a bullpen spot. The Rangers could go with a three-man bench and eight-man bullpen to make room for Alvarez, or send Martinez or Shawn Tolleson to the minors.
2. General manager Jon Daniels said that he isn’t done looking for pitching help after the Harrell-Alvarez trade, nor should he be. The Rangers need to get better.
Many have asked the past few days if the Rangers should trade Joey Gallo, Jurickson Profar and three other prospects for Sale.
The yes crowd can say that Sale is one of the best pitchers in the game and comes with a ridiculously affordable contract. He’s basically going to be paid for each of the next three seasons what Derek Holland would be paid — in the $11 million range.
A Sale-Yu Darvish-Cole Hamels rotation would win a lot of games and cover up a lot of blemishes, and a trade would give the players on the roster a needed boost of confidence from the front office.
The no crowd can say that a Sale trade would drain the farm system of more talent after coughing up five prospects for Hamels last year. It’s not as easy to acquire amateur talent as it once was.
There are no guarantees that with Sale the Rangers will win the division or league or the World Series, and then the Rangers won’t have quality MLB-ready players to plug in next year for Mitch Moreland, a free agent, or Prince Fielder, whose career is in jeopardy because of another neck injury, or Ian Desmond, also a free agent.
Both arguments make sense. Daniels has a track record of going for it but is still beholden to the lesson he learned in 2014 that an organization can never have enough quality depth to supplement the big-league club.
Daniels has also been swayed in the past to the most/best value. It’s hard to say that isn’t Sale, even if a future first baseman (Gallo) and a future super utility player (Profar) and a future who knows what (who knows) has to be dealt away.
Maybe for Daniels a Sale trade comes down to depth vs. value.
Maybe, and this is a distinct possibility, I have no idea what I’m saying.
3. Darvish is on the verge of being allowed to work without a pitch count after another strong outing.
He allowed two runs on four hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out six in six innings in his third start off the disabled list. He threw 93 pitches, seven shy of his limit, and said that he used up what he had left in the sixth as he hit 98 and 97 on his 91st and 92nd pitch and then threw an 87-mph wipeout slider to strike out Khris Davis that left the right-hander fired up.
His highlight, aside from the Davis strikeout, was that he didn’t walk a batter. He walked only one Friday at Kansas City. He knows that when he’s ahead in the count, hitters don’t have much of a chance.
Darvish said that he didn’t feel at his best physically, not an indication that he’s injured again but simply Darvish not feeling as good as he would like when he pitches. Nevertheless, he said he probably could have done back out had he been asked, but it would have been tough.
Next time, though, he should be able to get into the seventh or clear 100 pitches. He won’t pitch again until Tuesday, meaning he’ll have an extra day’s rest when he faces the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
That’s a tough test, with the Orioles sporting the best home record in the league, but Darvish, based on another good start Wednesday, looks like he’ll be up for it.