The trade deadline recently passed, and aside from trading for Matt Garza, the Rangers didn't make much of a splash in the market. Some had speculated that they might look to acquire a designated hitter or outfielder to replace injured Lance Berkman or Nelson Cruz, who was facing a potential suspension which he recently received.
Despite the Rangers electing to not acquire a hitter via trade, there are still other moves that can be made by the team since the deadline has passed. Here are some likely moves that the Rangers could make to help boost their team in the second half of the season.
Bring Back Matt Harrison
Starting pitcher Matt Harrison is on the mend after undergoing back surgery earlier this season. After two rehab starts with Double-A Frisco, Harrison has gone 0-1 with a 1.80 ERA over 5.0 innings pitched. He has struck out five batters and given up only one earned run.
Texas was originally hoping to get back pitcher Colby Lewis along with Harrison sometime before the season ended, but Lewis has been officially declared out for the remainder of the season. Texas has started 10 different pitchers this season, as their rotation has dealt with injuries for most of the year.
Guys like Yu Darvish, Matt Garza and Derek Holland are already considered staples within Texas' rotation, but Alexi Ogando and Martin Perez could easily be replaced with a player of Harrison's caliber. Ogando has gone 4-3 on the season with a 3.26 ERA so far, but has gone 0-1 in just three starts since July.
Over those three starts, Ogando has posted a 4.61 ERA while pitching just 13.2 innings. Opponents are also hitting .291 off of him over that span with four strikeouts and seven walks. Given his struggles on the field since his injuries this season, don't be surprised if Ogando is the odd man out should Harrison return.
Make a Trade Acquisition Via Waiver Wire
It's not something that happens in excess, and it isn't something that happens often, but a trade acquisition by the Rangers through the waiver wire could make a lot of sense.
Last season we saw a few trades go through in August following the deadline, and we could very well see something similar this year. The primary reason a waiver-wire acquisition would make a lot of sense for the Rangers right now is due to the fact that they lost Nelson Cruz to a 50-game suspension. Cruz was suspended on August 5th for his connection in the Biogenesis case, where it was proven that the star right fielder was using performance-enhancing drugs.
Texas did call up outfielders Engel Beltre and Joey Butler from Triple-A Round Rock, but Cruz's bat may be difficult to replace with a few prospects. Cruz has 27 homers this season and 76 RBI, leading the team in both of those categories.
Engel Beltre has done a decent job during his brief time with the Rangers, but he lacks the power that Cruz brought to the plate. Through 74 games with the Round Rock Express, Beltre had only four homers and 21 RBI despite hitting .302 over that span. He hits for a decent average, but the power just isn't there.
According to MLBTradeRumors.com, Texas is looking to make a deal for an outfielder, but the waiver-wire trade rules could make a move difficult at this time.
Put Jeff Baker in the Everyday Lineup
If there's one player on the roster who I think could help numb the loss of Nelson Cruz, it's Jeff Baker. Baker has shown a little bit of pop in his bat this season when given a chance to play, and he was hitting some real nice strides at the plate in June before going down with an injury.
On the season, Baker is hitting .310 with nine home runs and 16 RBI. The right-handed hitter is torching lefty pitching to the tune of a .375 average with eight homers and 13 RBI in just 56 at-bats. The biggest problem for Baker right now is that he struggles against righties. Through 44 at-bats this season against righties, he has hit just .227 with one homer and three RBI while posting an on-base percentage of .244.
Nobody is going to completely replace the loss of Nelson Cruz, but Texas is going to have to try. As of right now, rookie Jurickson Profar has been finding time to play. Whether in the field or at designated hitter, Baker has been left to watch from the bench. I like Profar, and I think he has a bright future with the club, but his .250 average and lack of power isn't what the Rangers need right now.
The Rangers will likely be putting out a few different lineups in the coming weeks, but they could be smart to see if Baker can fix his problems against righties and add some power to the lineup.
All stats and info courtesy of DallasNews.com, MLB.com, Baseball-Reference.com, HuffingtonPost.com and ESPN.com.
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