Texas Rangers

Rangers have bolstered farm system. Summer trades, though, won’t be last of rebuild

Drew Hutchison surrendered four of the Twins’ eight runs in the fifth inning as he and Matt Moore surrendered the Rangers’ 6-0 lead.
Drew Hutchison surrendered four of the Twins’ eight runs in the fifth inning as he and Matt Moore surrendered the Rangers’ 6-0 lead. The Associated Press

At some point Friday night the opener between the Texas Rangers and Minnesota Twins was compelling for someone. Probably multiple someones.

That wasn’t necessarily the case in the Globe Life Park press box, where I made multiple mistakes on Twitter, was unable to find the Colorado-Colorado State football game on TV and had to regain some energy by taking a 1,500-step walk around the ballpark.

Somehow, the walk, plus a Coke Zero and a pouch or two of Grinds spruced me up for the late innings. Now that September baseball is upon us, when games will get even longer thanks to endless pitching changes, I see more walks, Coke Zero and Grinds in my future.

Here’s some Rangers Reaction from the Rangers’ 10-7 loss to the Minnesota Twins after leading 6-0 after four innings.

1. Cory Gearrin has a year of arbitration remaining and had been a major help to the Rangers’ bullpen since his acquisition in July. He could have been of service to the 2019 team.

But these Rangers and those Rangers are in rebuild mode, and right-handed relievers are easy to find in the off-season. So, Gearrin was their most tradeable piece ahead of Friday’s waiver deadline for contenders to acquire players and have them eligible for the postseason.

That extra year of control helped the Rangers get two prospects from the Oakland A’s instead of one. They are 19 and 18 years old, but the Rangers like their upside. Abdiel Mendoza and Teodoro Ortega, both from Panama, have a lot of time to realize their potential.

That goes for most of the players acquired in six trades since July 8. Only Taylor Hearn (Keone Kela trade) and Wei-Chieh Huang (Jake Diekman trade) are playing above Class A, and they’re in Double A.

But Daniels said that the goal was to add high-upside arm to the minors and improve the farm system, and the Rangers accomplished both. Their system isn’t suddenly ranked in the Top 10.

Baseball America has them ranked No. 21. That ranking, though, is up a couple spots from their last survey. The Rangers will have another amateur draft, another international signing period and another stab at the July 31 trade deadline next season to add prospects.

Don’t lose track of them this off-season, either. A trade from the glut of left-handed-hitting corner outfielders (Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara, Shin-Soo Choo, Willie Calhoun) could produce some top prospects in return.

The Rangers did plenty the past two months, but still have more to do.

2. Connor Sadzeck was going to be a September call-up, but the Gearrin trade hastened Sadzeck’s arrival by five days. The Rangers, general manager Jon Daniels said, won’t bring anyone from the minors until after the minor-league seasons finish Monday.

Daniels also said that the Rangers could possibly call up someone from Double A. Jonathan Hernandez is the lone Frisco player on the 40-man roster who is deserving a promotion or is healthy enough for one, and his current stint on the disabled list was strictly for extra rest ahead of his final 2018 start Monday.

(Speaking of unhealthy Frisco players, catcher Jose Trevino is out of a sling following surgery on his left shoulder. He tore the labrum while swinging at a high fastball the day after he was sent down by the Rangers in June. He said that he will be ready to resume full baseball activities by December.)

Joe Palumbo is on the 40-man and is healthy coming back from Tommy John surgery, but the Rangers don’t want to risk anything. C.D. Pelham and Hearn could benefit from a month with the Rangers, but they could also benefit from some rest.

Sadzeck’s arrival has been a long time coming. His fastball velocity suggests he would have been recalled much sooner, but he’s still looking to piece everything together. September would be a good time for him to do so, as he is out of options after this season.

“It happens when it’s meant to happen,” Sadzeck said. “Now is my time, and I need to take advantage of the opportunity.”

3. The Rangers have made their decision on Martin Perez, sending him to the bullpen to finish out the season. Maybe they will like what they see in him as a reliever, but even if they do, there doesn’t seem to be a fit after this season.

Perez tossed two scoreless innings in his first relief appearance since his rookie season in 2012. He adeptly worked around a leadoff three-base error on Carlos Tocci.

It also appears — actually, it’s been apparent for some time — that there is no 2019 fit for Drew Hutchison or Matt Moore. That duo managed to cough up a 6-0 lead only moments after the Rangers had scored four in the in the fourth.

Hutchison didn’t record an out before bowing out at 6-3. Moore retired the second batter he faced before the Twins went single, game-tying double, two-run homer.

“I was just off a bit,” Hutchison said.

Moore’s fate was pretty much settled in June, when he was sent to the bullpen. He has pitched better as a reliever, but the $10 million club option on his contract won’t be picked up.

Hutchison was signed to a major-league contract Aug. 4 after pitching really well at Triple A with the Dodgers. It hasn’t translated, not even close.

After five starts with the Rangers, he has an 8.86 ERA (21 earned runs in 21 1/3 innings).

“There’s outings where we see the curveball in play, the changeup in play, and he gets swing-and-miss and he can miss the barrel,” manager Jeff Banister said. “He’s got to be good with the fastball. But the stuff plays well together when he’s got all three pitches together.”

There really isn’t much reason to look at Hutchinson again, and the Rangers have a couple in the minors who they must or should evaluate.

Yohander Mendez will be joining the Rangers next week after Round Rock’s season ends. He pitches Sunday, though, and wouldn’t be able to pitch for the Rangers until next Friday.

But Chris Rowley, the Army graduate, is on the same schedule at Hutchison and would be ready Wednesday. He’s on the 40-man roster, and the Rangers might want to get a look at him.

They might want to look at veteran Chris Tillman, too. He started Thursday for Round Rock and wasn’t terrible. He would need a 40-man spot, and the Rangers have an opening. They could also create an opening fairly easily by trimming players they know won’t be part of the 2019 team.

Hint. Hint.

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