Texas Rangers Trade Rumors: Latest Updates, News and Reaction

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2014

Texas Rangers Trade Rumors: Latest Updates, News and Reaction

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    There hasn't been much reason for celebration in Texas this season, with the Rangers roster decimated by an absurd number of major injuries and the hopes of a return to playoff baseball after a year's absence all but gone.

    It's been the kind of season that affords a team that's expected to contend on a yearly basis the unique opportunity to rebuild on the fly, which is what general manager Jon Daniels seems to be focused on doing.

    Texas has been in a similar situation before, as Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News recently noted:

    The last time the Rangers were in this situation — 2007 — they turned cornerstone Mark Teixeira into a franchise-overhauling deal that brought them Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and Matt Harrison. And they turned closer Eric Gagne into David Murphy. All four players became significant pieces in back-to-back World Series runs. 

    Things are going to get hectic as the trade deadline draws near, and Bleacher Report is here to make sure you don't miss any Rangers-related news that the rumor mill spits out over the next month.

    Keep it here for the most up-to-the-minute rumblings about the Rangers, along with analysis and everything else that comes with it. While the post date will always show as July 1, simply click to the next slide to see the latest about the Rangers as they turn their eye toward a return to relevance in 2015.

Done Deals

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    July 16: Traded RHP Jason Frasor to Kansas City in exchange for RHP Spencer Patton

    July 23: Traded RHP Joakim Soria to Detroit in exchange for RHPs Corey Knebel and Jake Thompson

Neal Cotts Drawing Interest

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    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 1:41 p.m. ET

    The Rangers are not satisfied with the offers that they've received so far, per Jeff Sullivan of the Fort Worth Star-Tribune, who says that the team is hopeful offers will pick up once Boston's Andrew Miller is traded.

    --End of Update--


    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 12:34 p.m. ET

    Teams that fall short of landing Boston's Andrew Miller may turn their attention to Cotts as a consolation prize, says MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.

    --End of Update--


    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 10:47 a.m. ET

    Sources tell Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal that the Rangers are actively trying to move Cotts before today's 4 p.m. ET deadline.

    --End of Update--


    Update: Wednesday, July 30 at 9:41 p.m. ET

    The Orioles have interest in Cotts, according to Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun, who notes that one of Texas' special assignment scouts was watching Baltimore pitching prospect Tim Berry earlier this evening.

    --End of Update--


    Update: July 16

    One down, as Frasor has been traded to the Kansas City Royals. Cotts remains as a valuable trade chip for GM Jon Daniels to play.

    --End of Update--


    With the Rangers focused on seeing what they've got in a number of young arms, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports that veteran relievers Neal Cotts (pictured) and Jason Frasor are drawing interest from contending clubs.

    Both free agents after the season, the pair has nearly identical numbers on the season (3.38 ERA/1.36 WHIP for Frasor, 3.46 ERA/1.36 WHIP for Cotts) and neither one figures to bring back much in the way of talent should the Rangers decide to move them.

    Cotts' value on the market is probably a bit higher, as he's a left-handed reliever, something that's always in demand, though Frasor's past experience as a closer could be valuable to a contender that's desperate for an alternative in the ninth inning—especially if said contender doesn't want to pay Texas' high asking price for Joakim Soria.

Alex Rios: Veteran Outfielder Picking His Spots?

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    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 1:30 p.m. ET

    The Giants and Rangers are having "ongoing discussions" about a Rios deal, tweets Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi.

    --End of Update--


    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 12:11 p.m. ET

    Talks involving Rios are picking up, reports CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, who lists the Giants, Mariners and Royals as the three most interested teams, with the Indians and Reds also involved to some degree.

    --End of Update--


    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 10:49 a.m. ET

    The Rangers are aggressively trying to move Rios before the 4 p.m. ET deadline, sources tell Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

    His limited no-trade clause may continue to be an issue, however, and whether he'd be willing to waive it remains to be seen.

    --End of Update--


    Update: Wednesday, July 30 at 5:58 p.m. ET

    The Rangers are not close to dealing Rios but expect things to pick up later tonight and tomorrow, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Jeff Wilson reports.

    Part of the problem in finding a new home for the veteran outfielder is his partial no-trade clause, which includes the New York Yankees, a team that is known to have at least some interest.

    --End of Update--


    Saturday, July 20 at 9:52 a.m. ET

    Multiple teams are believed to have interest in 33-year-old outfielder Alex Rios, with CBS Sports' Jon Heyman naming the Blue Jays, Giants, Mariners, Mets and Royals as possible fits.

    Seattle is said to be "discouraged at the moment" about their chances to strike a deal with the Rangers, with Heyman reporting that those close to Rios say he'd prefer not to travel as far as Seattle, though it should be noted that the Mariners are not a team that he listed on his limited no-trade clause.

    That he's currently sidelined with a sprained ankle certainly isn't doing anything to help trade talks along.

Rangers Won't Make a Run at Jon Lester

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    Tuesday, July 29 at 6:14 p.m. ET

    While there were some thoughts that the Rangers might try and make a play for Boston's Jon Lester at the deadline, giving the club two months to see how he'd fit in with the club and coaching staff before deciding whether to try and sign him as a free agent this winter, it's not going to happen.

    The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo says that while general manager Jon Daniels knows that he has to re-tool his pitching staff, especially with Matt Harrison's uncertain future, he's going to wait until the offseason to do so. (Cafardo tweeted "postseason," clearly a typo.)

    In a lost season, it wouldn't make much sense for the Rangers to surrender any of its young talent for a veteran arm, even one that they may have their sights set on once free agency begins.

July 23: Acquired RHPs Corey Knebel and Jake Thompson from Detroit

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    Corey Knebel

    Age: 22

    2014 Stats: 8 G, 0-0, 6.23 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 8.2 IP, 11 H, 3.1 BB/9, 11.4 K/9


    Jake Thompson

    Age: 20

    2014 Stats (High-A/Double-A): 18 GS, 7-4, 3.06 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 3.3 BB/9, 5.7 K/9


    In exchange for their veteran closer, the Tigers landed a pair of young arms with solid upside, one in the bullpen (Knebel) and one in the rotation (Thompson).

    Here's what Baseball America had to say about Knebel, ranked as Detroit's sixth-best prospect after the 2013 season (subscription required):

    Knebel has high-octane stuff, firing 91-98 mph fastballs for strikes with downhill plane and explosive late life. His low-80s hammer curveball has power, tight spin and late break, earning a few 70 grades and plenty of swings and misses. Knebel doesn't have much need for a changeup, but he's shown feel for that pitch too. He has a max-effort delivery with a short, funky arm stroke and head tilt, but he throws strikes. Deception in his delivery helps hide his release point from hitters. Given his stuff and ability to throw strikes, Knebel could move quickly through the system as a potential closer.

    And Thompson, ranked as Detroit's No. 5 prospect heading into 2014 (subscription required):

    Thompson throws three average or better pitches, operating off a low-90s fastball that can touch 95 mph. He delivers the ball with a steep downhill plane, mixing a harder four-seamer with a livelier two-seamer that has solid sink and tail. His best offspeed pitch is his low-80s slider, which has tight bite when it’s on, though it can flatten out on him. It’s a potential plus pitch that he already commands well. Thompson has shown feel for an average circle-changeup that could tick up even higher, but he hasn’t used it much yet. He also introduced a mid- to high-70s curveball in 2013 that improved as the season progressed, but it’s still a new pitch.

    Thompson wore down after his high school season in 2012 and the Tigers let him throw just 83 innings in 2013, so he’ll have to prove he can handle a larger workload. If he can, he’s a potential mid-rotation starter.

    While neither one is a sure thing, that's not a bad haul for a closer that the Rangers had no real use for this season and can be replaced via free agency (or internally, Neftali Feliz anyone?) in 2015.

Everyone Not Named Darvish Available?

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    Update: Saturday, July 20 at 9:46 a.m. ET

    Heyman reports that Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre and Yu Darvish are the only players the Rangers won't consider offers for.

    It makes sense, as the club plans on being right back in the thick of the playoff picture next season after suffering through one of the most injury-riddled campaigns that any team has dealt with in recent memory.

    --End of Update--

    According to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the Rangers are willing to listen to offers on everyone except third baseman Adrian Beltre and staff ace Yu Darvish, though it's fair to speculate that the right offer could change the team's thinking on Beltre.

    Even if the club decides that Beltre, like Darvish, is officially off-limits, GM Jon Daniels isn't lacking for valuable trade chips to play.

    Perhaps the most valuable is shortstop Elvis Andrus, a defensive whiz who has underwhelmed at the plate. While the 25-year-old is due nearly $120 million through the 2022 season, one rival general manager told Heyman that Andrus isn't as unmovable as some believe him to be, saying, “I think Andrus might make more sense than people realize (as a trade piece).”

    Veteran outfielder Alex Rios, along with relievers Neal Cotts, Jason Frasor and closer Joakim Soria, are all sure to generate interest as well.

    The Rangers also have a pair of young infielders, Rougned Odor and the recently demoted Luis Sardinas, who could be in play as well, though it's unlikely that the team would move one of them if Andrus is shipped elsewhere.