Now that July is upon us, the baseball world will begin focusing on the impending trade deadline at the end of the month. I think it's safe to say that the Texas Rangers can be lumped into the category of "Buyers".
Currently sitting a half game out of first in the West, the rest of the season is sure to be a battle with the Angels. So what pieces will be added—and which will be lost—to give the Rangers that extra advantage?
We've been conditioned through the past few years to automatically respond, "Pitching," when asked what the Rangers need. But with the success of this year, I'm beginning to wonder if that's really what the team should buy.
Consider: The Rangers are getting an all-star performance from Kevin Millwood (8-5, 2.80 ERA, 74 K's). Minus Matt Harrison, the other starters are a combined 17-8 with sub-5.00 ERAs (and really, who can blame Matt for his numbers with his injury issues?).
Even the bullpen is doing great with Darren O'Day, C.J. Wilson, Frank Francisco, Jason Jennings, and Eddie Guardado getting into a solid rhythm.
Keeping in mind that this is the Texas Rangers we're talking about, that's a stellar year from a pitching staff.
I will admit that the back end of the rotation seems a little shaky at times. The addition of another starter would definitely fix that problem and there are options in this year's trade prospects (Jake Peavy or Cliff Lee anyone?).
The question then becomes what parts would the Rangers be giving up for that option? I'm no expert on the details of the farm system (all I know is it's stocked full of prospects; if anyone can give me names and potential, I would love to know), but any trade is sure to involve one or two prospects and a vital part of the major league roster.
Here's my point in all this: With the pitching staff having an unbelievable season, is it really necessary to deal away the Rangers' present and future for one piece? Furthermore, the young pitchers are making progress and there are more waiting in the minors, so why risk the possibility of ruining that development?
While it's possible the Rangers will find a way to improve without losing too much (Ben Sheets is still floating out there right?), I don't see an overwhelming need for the team to make a deal for pitching. Lets keep the current team chemistry going and hope that more good results like the last series against the Angels happen through the remainder of the season.