The clock is ticking for teams looking to upgrade their rosters this week for the stretch run, and Globe Life Park has been a popular destination for incoming phone calls.
The Texas Rangers are thought to be sellers thanks to their terrible record, buoyed by a sixth-inning collapse Tuesday in a 12-11 loss to New York that spoiled a career night for J.P. Arencibia, and collection of quality players who could be done away with.
But the thinking all along by general manager Jon Daniels has been to preserve the chances of the 2015 club. The Rangers believe that, healthy again and touched-up during the off-season, they will contend next season.
As such, third baseman Adrian Beltre and staff ace Yu Darvish almost certainly won’t be going anywhere before the 3 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline Thursday. If no team comes with a quality offer for left-hander Neal Cotts or right fielder Alex Rios, and that hasn’t happened yet, they won’t be dealt and should become part of the 2015 plan.
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The Rangers could very well not sell off a thing over the next two days. Actually, they’ve been trying to add for 2015, as well they should.
They are going to need starting pitchers next season. Three of them. Daniels has said that a pitcher from outside the organization will be needed.
Yes, despite deadline deals the past few years, there are prospects to trade. Yes, as Daniels said recently, there will be enough payroll flexibility for the Rangers to be off-season buyers.
So, go get one now.
The Rangers will probably need two from the outside.
Their two Nicks – Martinez and Tepesch – and fellow right-hander Miles Mikolas haven’t been consistent enough to inspire confidence to give them a 2015 job.
Martinez was terrific for five innings Tuesday before seeing the Yankees score five of their seven sixth-inning runs against him. He had retired seven straight entering the sixth and had a 4-1 lead before allowing three hits and two walks.
“The thing he has to understand is he has to close innings out,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “That’s the hump he has to get over.”
The Yankees added an unearned run later in the inning as another communication issue involving Leonys Martin led to an error on Rios on a play that should have been the final out of the inning. That play came back to haunt the Rangers in the ninth.
“I wouldn’t say it cost us the game. It cost us a run,” Washington said. “That wasn’t the last run that was scored.”
Arencibia tried to carry the Rangers to their first back-to-back wins since last month. He homered twice, including a grand slam in the seventh, and had two doubles and a career-high seven RBIs.
But the damage had been done against Martinez, who along with Tepesch and Mikolas will be among a group of pitchers in the minors competing next spring to plug rotation holes.
Among the group, part of the next wave of prospects, are right-handers Luke Jackson and Alex Gonzalez. So is Jake Thompson, acquired last week from Detroit in the Joakim Soria trade, and Alec Asher, the reigning Texas League Pitcher of the Week for Double A Frisco.
The Rangers aren’t counting on lefty Matt Harrison, who had career-threatening back surgery a few months ago, and lefty Martin Perez likely won’t be ready until after the All-Star break after Tommy John surgery in May.
Based on this season, if there’s anyone that knows a team can’t have enough pitching, it’s Daniels. But the next wave of pitching prospects is deep, capable of temporarily cushioning any holes next season, and should be attractive to teams ahead of the trade deadline.
Fine. What’s out there?
Superstar lefty David Price was thought to be available until Tampa Bay started putting itself in playoff contention.
Philadelphia is willing to part with durable lefty Cole Hamels, though the Phillies would have to eat a massive chunk of the potential $114 million left on his contract.
Jon Lester and Boston have stopped talking about an extension, and now the Red Sox have scratched him from his start today in anticipation of a possible trade.
Acquiring any of the three seems unlikely, and it’s Daniels’ job to find a good baseball trade that benefits both clubs. He did with the Tigers last week and has been looking, though, without much luck.
The clock is ticking before the trade deadline. The phones at Globe Life Park are ringing. An answer for 2015 could be on the other end.