Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels Rumored to Be Potential Rangers Trade Chips

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 13, 2017

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 02: Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers, Colby Lewis #48 and Cole Hamels #35 looks on during in the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Globe Life Park in Arlington on September 2, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)
R. Yeatts/Getty Images

The Texas Rangers may listen to offers for pitchers Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels if the team "doesn't pick up its play" before the July 31 trade deadline, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.

Crasnick added that nothing is definitive yet, as both players offer unique challenges in any potential trade:

Jerry Crasnick @jcrasnick

Darvish is a rental and Hamels can block trades to 20 teams. #Rangers would want big return on both, so they're tough deals to pull off.

Jerry Crasnick @jcrasnick

At this point, #Rangers are keeping an open mind and mobilizing for multiple scenarios. Next two weeks will determine their course.

The Rangers have started a disappointing 43-45 on the season and find themselves 16.5 games out of the AL West race. They are just three games back in the wild-card hunt, though, so the team could still reach its sixth postseason in the past eight years.

While Darvish and Hamels have been solid this season, they haven't been dominant.

Darvish, 30, is 6-8 with a 3.49 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 125 strikeouts in 19 starts and 118.2 innings. Hamels, 33, is 4-0 with a 3.51 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 28 strikeouts in eight starts and 51.1 innings.

If the Rangers are to reach the postseason, they'll need their pair of aces to carry them.

"Conventional wisdom would tell you that," manager Jeff Banister said, per Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. "But at this point, it's all five [starters] really. You need all five to pitch well, based on the time of the season and the direction we want to go. With those two guys leading the way."

As Fraley noted, however, the Rangers haven't played well behind the pair:

"A year ago, on their way to a 95-win season and American League West title, the Rangers were 34-15 in games started by Darvish or Hamels. They did not have the same success in the first half of this season, going 12-15 in their starts.

"It is not their fault alone. Of the club's 17 blown saves, five have come behind Darvish or Hamels. Darvish has received the third-lowest support among major league qualifiers at 3.49 runs per nine innings pitched. Hamels missed two months because of a strained oblique."

The Rangers must decide whether to push for a postseason berth or become sellers at the deadline. If they decide the former, Darvish and Hamels will need to be excellent.

"You have to have two of those guys out front, leading the way," Banister said. "If something gets a little sideways, they can stop any kind of negative run."