The Texas Rangers clearly made a play for the AL Championship at the trade deadline, this past Monday. With Carlos Beltran (OF) and Jonathan Lucroy (C) being the biggest names acquired by Texas, the team seems to have made leaps in areas of concern. It ended up costing the club some potentially worthwhile prospects. With that being said, the most concerning need remains unaddressed. The Rangers organization failed to acquire a starting pitcher.
With their new additions sending them plummeting in the overall farm system rankings, going from the third best to not even top 10, Texas went all in on 2016. Beltran should be holding down the DH position fairly well, especially in the absence of Prince Fielder to injury. He’s a far better option at the bat-only position, hitting over .300. Lucroy will clearly be the catching cornerstone that this organization has desperately needed. The platoon of Bobby Wilson and Robinson Chirinos just hasn’t been getting the job done in the Lone Star State. Lucroy is batting just under .300 but is getting on base far more than the previous catching staff.
So what did the Texas Rangers give up to fill these two needs?
Lewis Brinson (OF) and Luis Ortiz (RHP) are now gone. They were ranked by MLB.com as the No. 2 and No. 3 prospects for Texas, respectively. Dillon Tate (RHP), whom the Rangers drafted fourth overall just last year, was sent away. That sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Well, it was.
Brinson was probably the biggest loss to the club. The Rangers considered him to have strong potential and were most certainly grooming him for Major League play. As an outfielder, he could have potentially been a replacement for Shin-Soo Choo. Injury plagued, aging and costing the club a lot of money, Choo should just about be on the way out. While able to perform well when healthy, he can’t manage to stay off the DL as much as the Rangers would like.
Ortiz being traded was a shame. With MLB Pipeline giving him the potential to be a #2 starting pitcher, the Rangers should have kept him. Even if he fell slightly below those expectations, maybe to a #3 or #4 starter, Ortiz would still be an asset to Texas. The club can barely keep two starting pitchers healthy at a time. They probably should have held on to any pitcher that could have, one day, been one of the coveted starting five. This brings us to Dillon Tate.
Tate was drafted high. Fourth overall isn’t a joke. Yes, the youngster has had his issues. He had only nine innings under his belt in 2015, then suffered from fatigue issues. This season, a hamstring injury sidelined him in April. After coming off the DL, he didn’t look like the same pitcher that he was when he was drafted. Honestly, it seems as if the Rangers are giving up on him too easily. The kid just started a Major League career, and after suffering an injury, the club was attempting to “fix” his issue. Give him a break. Or at least a few months to settle in.
For a club that currently has, and has been known to have, starting rotation issues, why is it that so many pitching prospects are being sent off?
In 2015, Texas sent five prospects to the Philadelphia Phillies. In return, the club got Cole Hamels. Who can say anything bad about that deal? Hamels has truly been the most integral part of the Rangers pitching staff. However, of those five prospects, three were pitchers. Two of which are currently Major League ready, and even making a few appearances. Could there have been no other way to get Hamels?
Having the No. 1 farm system in Major League Baseball doesn’t win you any World Series rings. A team has to have the right players actually on the field to get that done. That’s completely understandable. But if the Texas Rangers don’t intend on spending a significantly higher amount of money on players, they are going to have to start truly working their minor league system. At least as far as pitching is concerned.
Overall, Texas made out on top at the trade deadline. The club’s goal was to make 2016 “their year” and it seems like they gave themselves the best chance at it.