MLB Trade Deadline: Why the Texas Rangers Shouldn't Trade for an Ace

Chris Hummer@chris_hummerAnalyst IJuly 19, 2012

MLB Trade Deadline: Why the Texas Rangers Shouldn't Trade for an Ace

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    The MLB trade deadline is rapidly approaching, and rumors are swirling around the Texas Rangers concerning their desire to add a top-flight pitcher.

    However, that would be the wrong move.

    The Rangers have been linked to the Cubs' Matt Garza, the Brewers' Zack Greinkie and the Phillies' Cole Hamels.

    Each of these players are exceptional talents, and would give the Texas staff a boost.

    Though, they would come at a cost. The Rangers would be forced to give up top prospects to acquire these studs and, not only that, they might just be receiving a rental player.

    Deadline deals are risky propositions, and here are a few reasons why a splashy move wouldn't be the smart thing to do.

It Would Cost Too Much in the Way of Prospects

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    Getting a top of the rotation pitcher sounds great, but there is always a flip side of the coin.

    For Texas, that would be giving up either top corner infield prospect Mike Olt or the electrifying Jurickson Profar. 

    Both players are among the top minor leaguers in baseball and, in Profar's case, he’s arguably the best.

    Every team around the league is asking about the availability of these two, and there is little to no chance that a high-profile trade would happen without one of them being involved.

    So the question becomes: Is a player like Garza worth dealing for if it costs a team its best prospect?

    In short, no.

    Prospects are hit and miss, but both of these guys are worth more than a rent-a-player.

    Actually, the Rangers need look no further than their roster to see how costly trading top prospects can be.

    Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and Matt Harrison were all acquired by Texas in a deadline deal with the Atlanta Braves for Mark Teixeira in 2007.

    Teixeira had a solid year and a half with the Braves, then was traded to the Angels for 70 cents on the dollar (Casey Kotchman and Steve Marek) and ended up leaving for New York in free agency.

    The three prospects mentioned above, however, represent key cogs of the Rangers core and have played in at least one All-Star game each.

    That trade epitomizes how costly dealing young talent can be—well, if you're a Braves fan, that is. 

    Some deadline deals work magic, but trading Olt or Profar would be a mistake.

The Pitching Staff Is Already Deep and Talented Enough to Win in October

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    The Rangers are perusing an exemplary group of starters, but the rotation, as currently constructed, is already good enough to garner success.

    The staff is extremely deep. There are as many as eight pitchers who could step onto the rubber for a start and perform well.

    All-Star Matt Harrison, rookie phenom Yu Darvish and veteran Colby Lewis have been the mainstays, but Derek Holland, Roy Oswalt, Alexi Ogando and Neftali Feliz could all potentially start when the postseason rolls around.

    Each of these guys have their merits, and there isn't an incorrect choice in the group.

    None are an ace in a traditional sense, though Harrison is making a push to be, but as a whole, it's an outstanding unit.

    Every one of the starters give Texas a chance to win when they step onto the mound. In the case of Darvish and Holland, they could do more than that, each can dominate.

    Sure, adding a player like Garza or Greinke would be great. However, their stats are actually worse than Lewis' or Harrison's.

    So would it really be worth it to gut the farm system for a pitcher who be the second or third member of the staff?

    No, it wouldn't.

    With the overall talent in the rotation, it would be an unnecessary risk to make a flashy move at the deadline.

Both Greinkie and Garza Have a Major Flaw

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    Greinke and Garza are great, but they aren’t without their flaws.

    In Garza's case, he's a hot head.

    When things don't go his way, you can see the frustration on his face. Often times it builds into more than just annoyance, and there is always the potential bad pitch from Garza will snowball into a horrible outing.

    Garza’s also inconsistent.

    He has outstanding stuff, but in one start he will throw seven innings of shutout ball, and in the next, he'll only get though five while allowing six runs.

    Texas needs a surefire fireman; a guy who steps out there every time and either ends a losing streak or continues one.

    Greinke's issue, on the other hand, isn't so much in his performances. It's more of a question mark as to how he'll perform on the biggest stage.

    He suffers from a social anxiety disorder, and it's well documented that he would rather pitch in a small market to minimize the attention and pressure placed upon him.

    However, there will be no shortage of eyes on him in October, which is where the Rangers would need him to shine.

    He's only appeared in one playoff series in his career—last season with the Brewers—and he pitched terribly. In two starts, the former Cy Young winner had a combined 6.48 ERA, and his poor showings were a big reason Milwaukee went home.

    Texas can't afford for Greinke to break down when the lights shine brightest, which is why they need to stay away.

There Is No Guareentee Hamels Would Re-Sign Long Term

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    Hamels is the most interesting pitcher of the Rangers’ targets.

    He's a proven postseason commodity with a 3.09 ERA and 7-4 record over 10 playoff series, and owns a World Series MVP trophy as proof of his prowess.

    The lefty also has the best repertoire of pitches out of the three, and has been the most consistent throughout his career.

    These talents set him up for a huge payday when he reaches free agency this offseason, and for Texas, this could be a huge issue.

    In order to snag Hamels, the Rangers would have to deal one of their top prospects. The only way that would be worth it they can keep Hamels in the long run.

    If not, it could turn into the Cliff Lee situation two years ago. Where, ironically enough, Lee chose to take less money and sign with the Phillies instead of the Rangers after Texas had acquired him at the deadline.

    Hamels has already stated that he could re-sign with the Phillies if traded, according to CBS.

    "I can always leave and come back,” Hamels said. “When a team gets rid of you, I don’t think anybody looks at it as a slap in the face. I know Cliff didn’t. He pretty much showed the prime example of getting traded off before a [full] season and then coming back. I think that’s always a great possibility."

    Making matters worse for Texas, Hamels will demand at least a six or seven-year deal worth over $100 million.

    For a team that already has one superstar to re-sign in Josh Hamilton, the offseason would turn into a choice between the two stars.

    Hamels may spur the Rangers to another World Series, but as Lee proved, a star pitcher doesn't guarantee a title.

    With the risk and dollar signs that go along with Hamels, it would be best to not to pull the trigger.