Texas Rangers

Rangers Reaction: It's July, and Rangers have some restocking to do

Newsflash: It was hot Sunday at Globe Life Park. White Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia needed to cool down after one of his trips around the bases.
Newsflash: It was hot Sunday at Globe Life Park. White Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia needed to cool down after one of his trips around the bases. The Associated Press

Their Sunday didn't go so well, but things have been going pretty well for the Texas Rangers for two weeks.

They have won a season-best five consecutive series, and since May 22 are 20-16.

They have won 11 of their past 14 games, and are 12-9 at Globe Life Park over their past 21 home games after opening the season 5-15.

Three of those losses were to the Houston Astros, who return to Arlington for the final time Tuesday for a two-game series.

They might have something to say about the Rangers' recent run of success.

Here's some Rangers Reaction from a 10-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox on the first day of an important July.

1. Monday is a big day in baseball as farm systems get another boost when the annual international signing period opens.

The Rangers will be busy, though they don't expect to play for the top 16-year-olds in Latin America this year. They hope to sign as many as 15 players with the $4,983,500 bonus pool they've been allotted this season.

That doesn't mean they won't get quality players. They are expected to sign Venezuelan catcher Jose Rodriguez, Venezuelan shortstop Luisangel Acuna and Dominican shortstop Junior Paniagua.

They would rate as the Rangers' biggest investments, with Rodriguez's bonus the largest.

Coupled with the Rangers' 2018 draft class, they could be adding 45 players to the farm system, though they are all years away from helping in the major leagues.

But the July 2 period has been good to the Rangers in the past. Nomar Mazara and Ronald Guzman signed in 2011, and Martin Perez signed in 2007. The Rangers' top two prospects in the latest Baseball America rankings are J2 signees — Leody Taveras in 2015 and Julio Pablo Martinez in April.

Restocking the farm system is how all teams sustain themselves, and the Rangers are placing a focus on development in the minors in addition to their long-range plan for the big-league club.

Teams also restock at the trade deadline, and the Rangers' issues at the upper levels of their system could be alleviated some by ...

2. ... finding a trade partner for Cole Hamels, though, as has been stated here many times, it's not going to be easy.

Hamels has leverage, in the form of his lengthy no-trade list. His contract might be deemed as too high by some contenders who are short on available funds. It's not just the rest of his 2018 contract a team would have to pay, but at minimum a $6 million buyout or a $20 club option for 2019.

To get a quality package in return for Hamels, the Rangers might have to agree to eat some of the contract. The bigger their portion, the better the cut of prospect they get in return.

Hamels might not be the top starting pitcher available, at least not if he's pitching like he has in his past two starts.

J.A. Happ is in his final season with the Toronto Blue Jays and is making only $13 million this season. Another left-hander, Francisco Liriano, is having a rebound season Detroit, but has been injured.

If the Tampa Bay Rays can't gain any ground in the wild-card race, right-hander Chris Archer could be a trade target if he is healthy.

The Rangers aren't just looking for warm bodies for anyone who might get dealt. They need prospects who are closing in on the majors, because they don't have many in the system now.

They want players who can learn in the majors next season, perhaps under the guidance of ...

3. ... Shin-Soo Choo, who has an outside shot at being traded. But if the Rangers are going to have trouble unloading Hamels' contract, good luck on what Choo has left (around $52 million).

But a source said something interesting early this week when asked if the Rangers were going to move Choo.

"Why?" the source said.

He noted that Choo has been the Rangers' best player this season and has been a good player when healthy over the course of his contact. Contrary to what the cynics say, Choo has been healthy more often than not.

He's dealing with a mild strain of his right quadriceps now, but he said it's not severe and should be fine in a week. He could resume playing the outfield then, and will be plenty healthy if chosen for the July 17 All-Star Game at Washington.

Choo's on-base streak lives on, though barely. He was hitless in his first four at-bats before drawing an eighth-inning walk on a close 3-2 pitch that pushed the streak to an MLB-best 42 games.

When manager Jeff Banister was asked Saturday about the cause for the offense's surge, he talked about how the hitters are being more patient and waiting for their one pitch in one zone.

That's exactly what Choo is doing, and the rest of the team is following suit.

If that is how the Rangers want their hitters to approach the game as they develop, they shouldn't be in a rush to trade Choo.

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