One part of the Texas Rangers’ initial planning after the July 31 non-waiver deadline was to attempt to move multiple players through revocable waivers early in August.
If they cleared, they could then be shipped to any of the other 29 MLB teams ahead of Friday’s deadline to acquire players. After all, contenders had just gone shopping and plugged many holes and might not urgently need anything.
That’s how the Rangers were able to sneak right-hander Cory Gearrin through, and on Friday they dealt him to the Oakland A’s for two low-level minor-league righties.
Gearrin was acquired in a July 8 deal with the San Francisco Giants that included outfielder Austin Jackson and prospect Jason Bahr. Jackson was promptly released, with the Rangers willing to eat the $4.3 million on his contract.
Add in the $500,000 or so they paid Gearrin the past two months, and the Rangers acquired three prospects for less than $5 million. That’s the way business is done these days.
Including four other July trades, the Rangers have added 10 minor leaguers to the farm system the past seven weeks. Eight of them are pitchers.
General manager Jon Daniels remains happy with the work that was done.
“There was an emphasis on the pitching side,” Daniels said. “We’re trying to both acquire guys with upside and also raise the floor of the system. I think when you look at the number of intriguing, projectable arms that we’ve added to the system, and then some of the other programs on the development side that we’re putting in place, I think it bodes really well for our future.”
Daniels wasn’t expecting any other deals before the 11 p.m. deadline, which was to arrive after the Rangers opened a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins. That blanket statement covered third baseman Adrian Beltre, who was shopped to specific teams in July.
Taylor Hearn, acquired in the Keone Kela trade and sent to Double-A Frisco, is the prize of the group and suddenly finds himself in a small group of prospects who could make his MLB debut next season.
The two pitchers acquired from the A’s, righties Abdiel Mendoza and Teodoro Ortega, aren’t close to the majors. Mendoza turns 20 on Sept. 19 after pitching for the A’s short-season A team, and Ortega, 18, made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League.
None of the pitchers acquired the past two months will be September call-ups. Connor Sadzeck, who replaced Gearrin, was going to be part of the group that Daniels expects to start arriving Tuesday after the minor-league seasons end.
But the two added Friday fit the mold the Rangers were looking for during the trading periods.
“They’re quite a few years away, but they’re really interesting,” Daniels said. “We’ve had pretty good reports from some of our better scouts. Looking back at the deal with San Francisco, for us to get a month and a half of quality performance out of Cory and now add three young starter arms to our system, it’s pretty appealing.”
Gearrin became a go-to late-innings reliever with the Rangers, going 1-0 with a 2.53 ERA and a 0.891 WHIP in 21 1/3 innings. He goes from last place in the American League West to second place with the A’s, who entered Friday 2 1/2 games behind the Houston Astros and with a 4 1/2-game lead over the Seattle Mariners for the second wild-card spot.
The A’s bullpen is already loaded.
“It’s exciting being able to go over there for a team that’s been playing as hot as they have been,” Gearrin said. “It’s a young group of guys, young group of players, clearly. To be able to go over there and be part of that bullpen, I feel like it’s going to be something special.”