MLB Trade Rumors: 10 Moves Rangers Can Make To Return to the World Series
The Texas Rangers acquired Ryan Garko, Bengie Molina, Mark Lowe, Cliff Lee, Jorge Cantu, Christian Guzman, Alex Cora and Jeff Francoeur throughout the 2010 season in their first trip to the Fall Classic. While some of the above made a larger impact than others, they all contributed and were sought after to improve the Rangers chances in the playoffs.
The Rangers front office did their best this winter to have the best possible Opening Day roster, and their work will continue as the season progresses. Here’s a look at a few names that the Rangers could go after in hopes of a return to baseball in late October. The Rangers current needs are center field, relief and starting pitching, so those are the positions that will be featured in this slideshow.
The Oakland A’s are known for never turning down an opportunity to make a deal. The A’s have some outfield depth, and Crisp is due $5.75 million this season and is a free agent after the season. So Crisp is clearly attainable, but how does he make the Rangers that much better?
Center field is a question mark now, and if someone does not arise internally as the solution, the Rangers will have to go outside the organization. Covelli Crisp is an above-average defender and has historically been able to reach base with regularity. He would fit in well in Arlington and would likely become a Ron Washington favorite rather quickly.
The No. 2 overall pick in 2002 would be a lateral move to Julio Borbon in some circles. I disagree—Upton has never be close to getting a demotion and never been benched in favor of another outfielder like Borbon has. Upton, however, has played on a consistent winner with far less offensive talent around him.
Upton has been a buy-low candidate for GM’s for a year or so now, and with a change of scenery, he could possibly improve and push his ceiling higher. As for Borbon, he’s played well enough to be on a major league roster; it just seems the Rangers expect more from him and the center field position as a whole.
The Dodger whipping boy who is set to earn $6.95 million for the money ailing Dodgers in 2011. Kemp is clearly another change-of-scenery player who could have a major impact once moved and valued by his team.
Only problem with this is that Kemp is better suited for a corner outfield position rather than center. Kemp, however, has a seasonal average of 20+ home runs, 20+ stolen bases and an OPS over .800. Getting that type of production from center field would only further strengthen what is expected to be a top offense in the game in 2011.
Francisco Rodriguez signing with the Mets has surely been a regrettable decision for both sides. Overlooked, though, is that K-Rod actually performed well when on the field. As Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux, always says, “You’re only as good as your bullpen.”
The addition of the hard-throwing Rodriguez to pair with Neftali Feliz would shorten games and be ruthless against opponents late in games.
Rodriguez is someone who would benefit from getting out from the spotlight and pressure of New York. K-Rod setting up for Feliz would allow him to fully return to form and increase the Rangers chances of a deep postseason run.
Jonathan Broxton imploded in the second half last season, but the first half was top flight while earning an All-Star appearance and save. Broxton, like Kemp, is due around $7 million this season. During the second half, meltdown Broxton lost his closer’s role, so it's safe to assume they’ll once again have a short leash with him again in 2011.
If the Dodgers fall out of contention, it's highly likely Broxton will be on the block. If at that point the Rangers bullpen is in a similar shape as it is right now, then they would be one of the first teams in line to make an offer for Broxton and/or Kemp.
Heath Bell is set to be the best available closer this upcoming offseason at a price tag of $7.5 million this season. Bell will garner a lucrative multi-year deal this offseason that San Diego is unlikely to match, so it's clear Bell won’t be in San Diego in 2012. Adrian Gonzalez was affordable and under contract this season but was still dealt, Heath will be next. So if the Padres can’t overachieve again in 2011, then Bell will be finishing this season elsewhere.
Bell would be a luxury for the Rangers but would also serve the purpose of keeping him from other AL rivals. I’m not sure who would get the ball in the ninth in this scenario, but I am sure that it would make for a monster bullpen.
Mark Buehrle is Mr. Consistent. He’s posted over 200 innings and double-digit wins in 10 straight seasons. Buehrle is also a free agent after the season, and while the White Sox have high hopes for 2011, if they go sour, Mark may be the first to go.
The rotation could use some of Buehrle’s consistency, veteran presence and playoff success, all of which the rotation currently lacks. Buehrle may not be the best available starting pitcher near the trade deadline, but it's clear he would plug some holes in the Rangers roster.
Carlos Zambrano is still owed $55 million over the next three seasons, so the Rangers would have to be all in with the idea of Zambrano over then next three seasons. Carlos has been in anger management classes, and it's apparently pleased the Cubs, as they just cut ties with Carlos Silva, which means they are not worried about Zambrano imploding again; otherwise, they would have held onto him for insurance.
Clearly when on and when his head is on straight, Zambrano can be one of the best in the game and give the Rangers a legitimate No. 1 (sorry C.J.) to match up with in the playoffs.
Chris Carpenter, WHAT??? Why would the Cards trade their best pitcher when they lost their No. 2 starter in Adam Wainwright?
The answer is Albert Pujols and the large amount of money the Cards will have to allocate for him. Carpenter is a free agent after the season too, and whether he returns largely depends on Pujols and his salary ramifications.
Also worth mentioning is that Carpenter will be 37 next April, and the Cards may think the timing is right to pass the torch to Wainwright.
Carpenter would give the Rangers an ace to ride in the playoffs to the World Series, just like they did in 2010 with Cliff Lee.
Zack Greinke has two years on his current deal, but the Brewers may never get off the ground like they planned, which could turn into a fire sale quickly if GM Doug Melvin intends to keep his job.
If the Brewers struggle, miss the playoffs and lose Prince Fielder in the offseason for nothing, then Zack Greinke might confuse the Brewers for the Royals quickly. Also, Milwaukee would likely be quick to pull the trigger on a Fielder trade after watching C.C. Sabathia walk in 2008. The Brewers have a short and complex window. This is why Greinke may be available at some point in 2011.
Greinke strikes the Rangers fancy, as he was rumored to be dealt to Texas as the Rangers missed out on Cliff Lee. The Rangers missed Greinke once but may not have to wait long to get a second crack (ribs) at Greinke.