Texas Rangers

Rangers continue to talk trades, but are they getting anywhere?

Cole Hamels' lousy start Saturday, in which he didn't even last an inning, could be turning off contenders on a potential trade.
Cole Hamels' lousy start Saturday, in which he didn't even last an inning, could be turning off contenders on a potential trade. The Associated Press

Austin Jackson, the home-grown outfielder the Texas Rangers acquired Sunday and then told to not report to his new team, was expected to fly to his home in the Metroplex on Monday to await word of his baseball future.

It won't be with the Rangers, barring an extraordinary wave of bodies into the training room, and he knows that.

The two most likely scenarios, and not necessarily in this order,involve him being traded or being designated for assignment and then picked up by another club.

The issue hindering a trade is that Jackson is under contract for 2019, and the few teams that have expressed interest aren't sure they want to commit to him beyond the rest of this season. The Rangers also have only until Wednesday to do something.

So, now the Rangers have three players who will be difficult to unload, along with third baseman Adrian Beltre and left-hander Cole Hamels.

That's not going well, either, and things might not get going until deadline day July 31.

Of the two, Hamels remains the most likely to be traded despite his sluggish performance of late. Interest has waned some in light of his pitching slump, making a deal a week or more out from the deadline less likely.

The Rangers believe that a potential Hamels deal could be at the last minute. Of course, if he rebounds Friday at Baltimore with a gem, talks could begin to pickup again.

Also consider that Yu Darvish allowed 10 runs in his final start last year before the trade deadline but was still moved.

But hurdles would still exist. Hamels' 20-team no-trade list is chief among them, and the $20 million club option for 2019 that comes with a $6 million buyout is another.

Beltre can be a free agent after the season, making him a rental to a contender. The Rangers have told the five to seven contenders who have inquired about him not to bother making an offer if they view the future Hall of Famer as just a bit player to their title hopes.

The Rangers believe that Beltre, though 39 and no longer an iron man, is a still a difference-maker. As such, they won't attempt to trade him unless they get bona-fide prospects or young major-leaguers who could be of immediate help.

Even then, the Rangers have to overcome Beltre's full no-trade protection. Some believe he will nix any trade. Others believe he would accept a trade only to a team that has a legitimate shot at the World Series.

In other words, he won't go to a team that is headed toward a wild-card spot and a potential one-and-done playoff appearance.

Then there's Jackson, a right-handed hitter who can run and play all three outfield spots. He would be a nice piece for a contender, and may end up with one even if he isn't traded.

The Rangers acquired him and the remaining $4.3 million on his contract in an effort to get right-hander Jason Bahr, a pitching prospect, from the San Francisco Giants. The Rangers also received righty reliever Cory Gearrin, who reported Monday.

Even if the Rangers can't trade Jackson, they would get relief from the team that claims him this year and next year. That team would have to pay only the prorated league minimum remaining this year and the league minimum in 2019.

That would total around $750,000.

Bahr was assigned to High A Down East and is expected to make his debut Saturday. He doesn't project as a future ace, but adds an arm to the Rangers' starter-thin system.

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