1 Bold Prediction for Texas Rangers at Trade Deadline

Trey WarrenContributor IIIJuly 22, 2014

Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington looks toward the outfield in the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Monday, July 7, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. The Astros won 12-7. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

With the 2014 MLB trade deadline rapidly approaching, it should be safe to say the Texas Rangers are going to be spectators while any sort of madness unfolds.

The club in Arlington is tied with the Colorado Rockies for the worst winning percentage in baseball (.404) and is 21.5 games back of the AL West lead as of July 22. Texas has by far the worst run differential in the big leagues (minus-108) and stands to miss out on the playoffs for the second straight year.

That is why the boldest prediction for the team concerns the possibility of losing three players at most come the July 31 non-waiver deadline.

With the exception of a few players, depending on the day, the Rangers are fielding what amounts to a good-looking minor league ballclub. Young guys like Rougned Odor and Michael Choice continue to play despite their struggles at the big league level, and lack of depth allows Colby Lewis and Nick Tepesch to continue to start on the mound.

Only three guys come to mind as trade candidates this July for the Rangers. One is possibly overachieving while the other two can provide decent return value.

If none of these three players go, then no other Ranger is on his way out.


LHP Neal Cotts

Jim Cowsert/Associated Press

Here is the one guy who continues to overachieve and is still with the club based off a career season with Texas in 2013.

Neal Cotts had a career-high 1.11 ERA last year, the lowest of his career since 2005, when he posted a 1.94 ERA with the Chicago White Sox. Last season was the only time he kept his ERA under four and the only time in his career he held a WAR of more than two (2.6).

Obviously the southpaw and his 3.48 ERA doesn’t hold as much value this season, but he still carries the potential to bring back a young prospect in a deal. Cotts is showing that a slow start can have an overwhelmingly large effect on statistics down the road, having posted a 5.91 ERA by the end of April.

The Illinois State alum is still showing signs of dominating stuff, currently holding a strikeout rate of 10.7 per nine innings.

But at 34 years old, the Rangers should be moving on from Cotts as they did from Jason Frasor, whom the club dealt to Kansas City several days ago in exchange for minor leaguer Spencer Patton. A quality prospect may be out of the question when it comes to dealing Cotts, but starting depth on the mound is something the club should be seriously considering.


RHP Joakim Soria

Joakim Soria has been good for the Rangers but is not the long-term answer at closer.

The 30-year-old is 16-of-17 in save opportunities this season, which is nothing to brag about. After winning the ninth-inning job at the conclusion of spring training earlier this season, Soria has become somewhat of a surplus arm at the end of the game.

While the rest of the bullpen has combined for one total save, Soria has the fourth-highest ERA (2.59) of any reliever with at least 13 saves. Out of that select group, the Mexico native has pitched the fewest amount of innings 31.1.

Soria could bring back higher quality in terms of a prospect but not much more than Cotts. The club needs to seriously consider its other options in the ninth and sell the right-hander while it can.


OF Alex Rios

The last guy to possibly be dealt has seen interest from the Kansas City Royals and has a club option that could be a large payday for the right fielder.

Alex Rios has the chance to make $13.5 million next season if the Rangers decide to keep him, per Baseball-Reference.com. The buyout is just $1 million for Texas and is growing more likely than ever.

The 33-year-old is having one of his better seasons, slashing .302/.330/.435 with four home runs and 42 RBI. He also leads the American League in triples with eight.

All it took for Rios to end up in Arlington was a middle infielder (Leury Garcia) from the Rangers in an August 2013 waiver deal. The 19th pick from the 1999 draft won’t bring back much more than that but still provides an opportunity for the team to build a stronger farm system.

Although he has been one of the better hitters for Texas, Rios isn’t much more than a veteran getting his hacks in. The Kansas City Royals have shown interest in the outfielder, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, but it remains to be seen if the Rangers will elect to hold on to him.

After all, he has only had two years of production that would be able to match this season’s numbers.


All Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and ESPN.com.

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