Texas Rangers

Minor still open to extension with Rangers after deadline drama. The sides have talked

Only Mike Minor knows how much the events, or non-events, leading to the July 31 trade deadline affected his pitching.

He suggested that night, after pitching for the Texas Rangers instead of some other MLB team, that he hadn’t been able to focus completely on solving his mechanical woes amid the constant trade chatter.

The results in his past two starts, though, suggest that, yeah, the trade deadline might have distracted him more than that.

“He’s human,” general manager Jon Daniels said.

But being in the rumor mill didn’t cause irreparable harm to the player-club relationship. Minor said on Thursday that he remains open to signing a multi-year contract extension with the Rangers.

The Rangers, apparently, are open to the idea, too.

An MLB source said that the Rangers have had preliminary extension talks with Minor’s agent, B.B. Abbott, but it is a topic that will be addressed more deeply in the off-season.

Daniels declined comment on the status of any extension talks, but said that he did his best to keep Minor in the loop in the weeks and days leading to July 31.

“We tried to communicate as much as possible up front,” Daniels said. “That doesn’t make it easier, but I definitely want to be honest with the guys and make sure they’re aware of when some things have some fact to them and when they’re just speculation.

“That doesn’t make it easier to go out and perform with that backdrop when you have a wife and kids and people are asking you what’s going on. It’s a daily reminder. I’m not surprised it affects some guys.”

Minor will have his hands full Friday night in his 25th start of the season, this one against the Minnesota Twins. The Twins are the worldwide leaders in home runs, and have plenty of right-handed thump they can send to the plate.

Rookie right-hander Pedro Payano had the first crack at the Twins’ on Thursday night to open a four-game series. Minnesota entered the day with a half-game lead over the Cleveland Indians in the American League Central.

Maybe the Twins become a speed bump that slows Minor’s August roll. Maybe they don’t.

Free from worry and with his mechanics ironed out, Minor has worked 15 scoreless innings his past two starts, surrendering 11 hits and only two walks while striking out 18. That’s much more in line with what he did April through June, when he built his All-Star resume.

He went 1-4 with a 6.59 ERA in July, when his ERA climbed from 2.40 to 3.21, but he will take a 2.90 ERA into Friday.

Minor has one season left on his contract after this season, which is a big part of why he was thought to be attractive at the deadline. The Rangers fielded offers and advanced a few of them closer to the finish line before pulling the plug.

Daniels said two weeks before the deadline that he probably would not trade Minor, who turns 32 in December. His age will play a role in the length of his next contract.

A Minor-Lance Lynn duo at the top of the rotation is a good way to enter the off-season. The free-agent pitching marking will be topped by Gerrit Cole and filled with recognizable names that might be past their primes (Madison Bumgarner and Cole Hamels) or coming off down seasons (Rick Porcello and Dallas Keuchel).

Lefties Joe Palumbo and Kolby Allard are the top internal candidates to fill out the rotation.

They could become fixtures in the Rangers’ rotation. So could Minor, if extension talks gain steam in the off-season.

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After 11 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.