The July 31 non-waiver trade deadline never ceases to amaze me, year after year after year. Months of talking lead to an expansive rumor mill, yet deals float in immediately after the deadline passes that shock everyone.
The surprise trade this season was the White Sox acquisition of Jake Peavy from the San Diego Padres for the exact same package the two teams agreed upon in May. The only difference was Peavy approving the trade this time.
As for the Texas Rangers, there was a lot of chatter about Roy Halladay and Heath Bell, yet nothing happened as the deadline passed in Arlington.
Leading up to the deadline on the 31st, the Rangers were in on Heath Bell to fortify the bullpen, yet remarkably quiet in the position player market.
I know I’ve been singing this song for a while now, but this team needs a hitter more than a starter, even with the latest injuries to the rotation.
Luckily for the Rangers, they still have another month to reinforce the offense and perhaps add a starter to the rotation.
While they have many options internally to do this, those options are not quite ready for their cup of coffee in the big leagues—with the exception of Chris Davis and Neftali Feliz, who should be called up very soon.
As for the external options, there are some impact players that could clear waivers and enable a trade to occur.
First, let’s go over the rules of August trading, as the Rangers haven’t done much in August lately.
A player must clear waivers to be traded, and contrary to popular belief, players can be traded in September but would be unavailable for the postseason.
Once a player is put on waivers, he can be claimed by teams in reverse order of the standings, starting with the league he’s currently playing for. Once he clears his league, the same process is repeated for the other league.
If a player is claimed, the team who put him on waivers can either pull him back, work out a trade, or let the claiming team have him and his entire salary.
If a player is not claimed by any of the teams, he is then eligible for a trade to any of the other teams.
The good news for the Rangers is the only teams likely to claim a player to block him from coming to Arlington are all ahead of them in the standings.
On the flip side, any player the Rangers want to keep out of Anaheim—like Roy Halladay, can be blocked by simply claiming him on waivers.
In many ways, the August month of trading is both more complicated and much more interesting.
Now for those likely to clear waivers the Rangers may have an interest in, starting with their biggest need: a bat.
Josh Willingham—Washington Nationals, OF
Willingham is hitting .303 with 16 home runs and 39 RBI.
Keep in mind he’s hitting in a pitchers park for a lousy team leading to low home run and RBI totals.
Adam Dunn—Washington Nationals, OF
Dunn is having an outstanding season in terms of pure power. His batting average is a solid .275 with 26 home runs and 76 RBI.
Maybe he’s getting all of the RBI for Washington leaving Willingham to fight for scraps? Dunn would essentially replace Andruw Jones as the fourth outfielder and designated hitter. His salary should keep teams from claiming him.
Adam Lind—Toronto Blue Jays, DH
Lind is having a fine season hitting .299 with 22 home runs and 70 RBI.
Toronto may be unwilling to trade Lind if they truly believe they can contend in 2010, but if he clears waivers the Rangers should check on his availability.
As I’ve mentioned 500 million times, the Rangers need a bat more than anything right now, but if they can’t acquire one, then an upgrade in the rotation would be helpful as well.
Doug Davis—Arizona Diamondbacks, LHP
Rangers fans should remember Doug Davis as one of the many players John Hart let get away. It’s another article for another time, but is there a GM in Rangers history who did more damage than John Hart?
Davis is having a good year despite his record of 5-10 for the offensively challenged Diamondbacks. His ERA sits at 3.73 with a WHIP of 1.50.
He’s not overpowering with 103 strikeouts in over 130 innings pitched, but he does pitch to contact, which would fit nicely with the Rangers current pitching philosophy.
Bronson Arroyo—Cincinnati Reds, RHP
Arroyo has a record of 10-10 with an ERA of 5.17 and a WHIP of 1.48.
The Reds are trying to clear salary and made Arroyo available prior to the non-waiver deadline. His ERA is high and his strikeouts are pretty low, but he was brought up in the fire that is Boston which can never be discounted.
The right deal could bring him here, but only a package of second tier prospects should be offered.
John Garland—Arizona Diamondbacks, RHP
Like his teammate Doug Davis, Garland is 5-10 with an ERA of 4.42 and a WHIP of 1.45.
His ERA is a little high and his strikeout numbers aren’t very impressive, but he could slide into the fifth spot in the rotation and reinforce the bullpen should the Rangers make the playoffs.
Considering the pitchers who may be available, I simply do not see someone who should knock Derek Holland or Tommy Hunter out of the rotation, especially when you consider the prospects they would cost.
The Rangers have options internally for the starting rotation, but the lack of proven middle of the order hitters may force the Rangers to deal for a bat, unless the Rangers offense explodes in August.
One thing to consider as well is the performance of Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton. If those two players get things going in August and September, the Rangers would enjoy the effect of an impact trade without giving up prospects.
The Rangers are 15 games over .500 with their current roster; any additions from here would be an added bonus to an already good team.
Should be an exciting August and an even more exciting stretch run to the playoffs.