Pat Sullivan/Associated Press
San Francisco Giants Get: OF Alex Rios
Texas Ranger Get: RHP Chris Stratton and a player to be named later
Texas Rangers outfielder Alex Rios is the topic of conversation across much of MLB.
After all, he is the only legitimate offensive force that has cleared waivers to this point. And even if a club was interested in acquiring his services, there is no guarantee that Rangers general manager Jon Daniels would part with him.
Consider that if Daniels' 40-man roster remained essentially intact going into the 2015 season, a case can be made that they are, at minimum, wild-card contenders. Another thing to keep in mind is that as ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted, the return may not be that impressive considering the precipitous drop in Rios' power numbers.
And while we built a trade out to the Kansas City Royals last week, let’s switch leagues and work one out that has him going to the San Francisco Giants.
Yes, center fielder Angel Pagan recently returned from the disabled list, and right fielder Hunter Pence is playing good baseball. After that, however, the depth and production in the outfield is limited.
Michael Morse, for example, went from ripping the cover off the ball at the beginning of the season to being rather unproductive in a matter of two months. In his 49 games since June 11, for example, he has a pedestrian .272/.324/367 slash with two home runs, 10 RBI, 10 doubles and has only scored nine runs, according to splits over at Baseball-Reference.
True, Gregor Blanco is a fine fourth outfielder, but the roster improves greatly with the addition of Rios, who would have to play left field. Morse could cover at first to get more playing time, and Rios would also be able to give Pagan and Pence days off. In other words, there is plenty of playing time available.
In order to add a player that would make the Rangers a better ballclub next season, the Giants would send over Double-A starting pitcher Chris Stratton.
Stratton is right-hander with established stuff. Per MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo:
Stratton was overpowering at times at Mississippi State, where he worked at 91-93 mph, and hit 95 mph consistently. Last year, his fastball sat at 89-92 mph, though it remains effective because he can spot it on both sides of the plate and impart it with some run and sink.
Stratton uses four pitches, with his quick slider being the best of his secondary offerings. He also has a curveball he can throw for strikes and a changeup with more deception than movement. With Stratton's stuff and command, he could become a No. 3 starter.
If No. 3 is where Stratton tops out in the Rangers rotation, and that should be just fine with Daniels. He would be a nice complement to Yu Darvish and Martin Perez, who figure to open up next season as the No. 1 and No. 2 starters, respectively.
Finally, let’s not forget that the Giants were one of the clubs rumored to be interested in grabbing Rios prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, per CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.
Any way this deal is dissected, it fills a need on each team.
Whether or not the return is sufficient for Daniels is another story. If we consider, however, that the cost to acquire Rios from the Chicago White Sox was utility infielder Leury Garcia, this represents a significant return on his investment.