I’ve tried to do this over the last few years and while I’m more wrong than right, it’s still something I enjoy doing so I wanted to get back to putting together a list of players who make sense for the Texas Rangers to target as we get closer to the July trade deadline.
There’s no question this team has needs offensively, especially in the outfield with the lack of production from Leonys Martin and Shin-Soo Choo, not to mention Josh Hamilton not able to get back to 100 percent with a strained hamstring, but they also have needs in the bullpen which has been a sore spot with this team over the last month or so.
With that in mind, here are 10 players (in no particular order) that I think make sense for the Texas Rangers to pursue over the next month.
Justin Upton (OF, San Diego Padres, free agent after 2015 season)
Koji Uehara (RHP, Boston Red Sox, owed $9 million next season)
Craig Kimbrel (RHP, San Diego Padres, owed $11 million next season, $13 million in 2017 plus $13 million club option in 2018)
Ben Revere (OF, Philadelphia Phillies, arbitration eligible for the 2016 and 2017 seasons before he hits free agency)
Jim Johnson (RHP, Atlanta Braves, free agent after the 2015 season)
Michael Brantley (OF, Cleveland Indians, owed $6.5 million in 2016, $7.5 million in 2017, $11 million club option for 2018)
Tyler Clippard (RHP, Oakland Athletics, free agent after the 2015 season)
Josh Reddick (OF, Oakland Athletics, arbitration eligible through 2016 season)
Francisco Rodriguez (RHP, Milwaukee Brewers, owed $7.5 million in 2016, $6 million club option for 2017)
Clay Buchholz (RHP, Boston Red Sox, $13 million club option for 2016, $13.5 million club option for 2017)
There are all sorts of rumors about the Rangers being interested in Cole Hamels and while he certainly brings the “big name” guy to the rotation of this ball club, he’s not the dominate guy he’s been in the past. Not only that but the Rangers would have to give up some pretty big prospects to make the Philadelphia Phillies part with the right-hander.
Instead, I went with some smaller players and guys who I think would be able to help this team stay in contention for the remainder of the 2015 season. The only asterisk in there is Clay Buchholz but with impending free agency staring at him after the 2015 season, I would think the Rangers could give up a lot less to acquire him than they would for Hamels.
That being said, the reason for only one starting pitching on the list, or any starters for that matter, was wanting to roll with what the Rangers have right now especially with Martin Perez due back before the All Star break and they could possibly get Matt Harrison back as well though you don’t know exactly what you’ll get from him.
Derek Holland was expected back around the same time but has been pushed back after the latest MRI showed his strained pitching shoulder was only 90 percent healed according to Stefan Stevenson of the Ft Worth Star Telegram.
I’m more than willing to let this team continue with what they have especially with what they’ve been getting from Chi Chi Gonzalez, Wandy Rodriguez, Colby Lewis, and Yovani Gallardo though he has been up and down over his last three or four starts. While they do need pitching, it shouldn’t come in the starting rotation. Instead, they need to look to improve a very shaky bullpen and outfield production they aren’t getting from Leonys Martin and Shin-Soo Choo despite Choo’s home run earlier today against the Baltimore Orioles who were on a hot streak going into this series.
If you can get better production out of your outfield pieces, strengthen your bullpen, and get really good outings from Perez and Harrison upon their returns, it should put fear in the eyes of the rest of the AL West and they’ll be looking over their shoulder for the remainder of the year.