The SANDbox: Trade Deadline Reaction

Jared Sandler
August 05, 2019 - 9:58 am
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The SANDbox

LEADING OFF

By several accounts, the Rangers didn’t get offered anywhere near what they wanted to pull the trigger on a Mike Minor deal. I’ve always said the most fascinating element of trade talks and free agency discussions are the deals that don’t get done and the offers that don’t get accepted because we very rarely ever know about them. I’ve had people inside and outside the organization share the same sentiment about the Minor market and if that’s the case, I’m glad they didn’t move him. I was hopeful that the Rangers would have offers pushed in front of them that would make a move worthwhile but it just didn’t develop and I didn’t want to give Minor up for anything less than a really strong return.

This doesn’t mean that Mike Minor is definitely a Ranger in 2020, nor does it mean the Rangers will definitely seek out an extension. The Rangers could explore trades in the off-season, peruse extension options, or just let Minor play out 2020. A fourth option, of course, is a deal at the deadline in 2020.

As far as the other guys, I don’t think anyone was willing to give the Rangers anything of value for Hunter Pence who, on a contender, would be a platoon player. I wonder what the Danny Santana market was like as well as the Maz market, but it obviously wasn’t rich enough for a move to be made. My guess is the outfield logjam will get addressed this off-season.

Let’s consider the two deals that were made…

KOLBY ALLARD TRADE

Allard made his organization debut on Saturday, throwing five scoreless innings with eight strikeouts, two walks, and four hits surrendered.

When the Blue Jays acquired Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson from the Mets for Marcus Stroman, I was disappointed. That precedent didn’t bode well the Rangers and their desire to acquire talent for their tradable assets. It still might not bode well for a potential Mike Minor deal. As I type this, he’s sitting in the Rangers dugout and no deal appears imminent, nor should it if the Rangers aren’t getting top dollar. Regardless of whether that happens or not, the Rangers aren’t going home empty-handed with their acquisition of 21-year old LHP Kolby Allard.

In exchange for rental reliever Chris Martin, the Rangers get Allard who, if he isn’t better than both guys acquired by the Blue Jays individually, it is close. Allard will start with Triple-A Nashville after spending 2019 exclusively with Atlanta’s Triple-A Gwinnett where, in a hitter-friendly environment, he went 7-5 with 4.17 ERA. There’s a very good chance that the Rangers in acquiring Allard acquired a member of their 2020 Opening Day starting rotation and, of course, hopefully for many years beyond that.

Allard was the 14th overall pick by the Braves in the 2015 Draft out of San Clemente High School in southern California. He throws a low-90s FB with a good cutter and strong change. He’s working on his curveball and, in general, improving his out pitch. He’s got great command and his current skillset profiles as a No. 4 or No. 5 starter.

Wait…why should we get excited about a backend-of-the-rotation pitcher?

Three reasons.

First, he’s a No. 4 or No. 5 a part of a strong rotation. A lot of 4s and 5s around the league are fringe starters just filling out a rotation. Allard profiles as a definite big league starter who would rate higher in lesser rotations. These guys are very important in the regular season and Allard could certainly be in a playoff rotation.

Second, he’s just 21. That’s what he profiles as now. Let’s harken back several years when the Rangers traded Kyle Hendricks to the Cubs. No one looked at Hendricks and thought he profiled as a big league starter at all. It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison but just a name familiar to Rangers fans. Allard could certainly develop into more but if he doesn’t, the Rangers still acquired a guy who, if he stays healthy, is a part of their rotation for years.

Third, the Rangers gave up a rental reliever for him. That’s it. The bang-for-their-buck is through the roof. If it doesn’t work out, they gave up little, considering their situation. That’s not to disparage Martin, who is having an awesome year, but rental relievers by themselves, especially setup men, don’t typically yield guys like Allard. Again, consider what the Jays got for Stroman—a playoff rotation starter having a year very similar in overall quality as Mike Minor (though they go about getting their outs very differently). And the Rangers could very easily sign Chris Martin back in the off-season.

As far as the potential of the prospect the Rangers received for what they gave up, I'm not sure they could have done better with the way the market has unfolded.

There’s still the potential for more work to be done but so far, so good.

NATE JONES TRADE

…isn’t really about Nate Jones. In exchange for low-level minor league pitchers Joe Jarneski and Ray Castro, the Rangers acquired Nate Jones, financial considerations, and approximately $1 million of international slot money. That international slot money is the key return.

So if the international slot money is the key return, the key name is Bayron Lora, an outfielder from the Dominican Republic considered the third best free agent in this year’s J2 class. Lora, who is unsigned, has been heavily linked to the Rangers who need to add some additional slot money to sign him. The $1 million they just acquired covers most of it but reports are that they’d need another $250K-$500K, which should be easily attainable. There are a number of quality international free agents still out there, but none as talented as Lora, who would be among the organization’s top prospects if they can indeed sign him.

Let’s cover the other side. Nate Jones is a 33-year old reliever on the 60-Day IL after undergoing surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right shoulder. Jones has about $1.5 million left on his deal and the expectation is that the “financial considerations” portion of the deal will help cover that. After this season Jones, who has a career 3.12 ERA and has established himself as a quality reliever, has a $5.15 million team option for 2020 with a $1.25 million buyout. The expectation is that the Rangers will buy Jones out, but could try and sign him back based on his medical evaluations and recovery.

As far as what the Rangers gave up, Jarneski, 19, is a reliever pitching in the Arizona Rookie League and Castro, 22, is in his third season in the Dominican Summer League.

ONE MORE NOTE

It was really interesting to hear fans’ opinions on whether they wanted to see the Rangers trade Mike Minor or not. I obviously didn’t tabulate each response but it seemed like the fan base was pretty split. There were strong arguments made from both sides and I enjoyed hearing/reading y’all’s thoughts.

(ST)RANGER THINGS

*In addition to watching this team compete over the final two months, I’m excited to watch young guys get their first look at the big league level or guys get a more extended look. We’re currently getting a chance to see Scott Heineman, Emmanuel Clase, and Jose Trevino, who, along with Isiah Kiner-Falefa, joined the team on August 2nd. We could still see others like Nick Solak, Kolby Allard, Joe Barlow, Demarcus Evans, Joe Palumbo, Brock Burke, and  Taylor Hearn. That entire list likely won’t all make it up this year but a handful certainly might.

*Speaking of the roster changing, Hunter Pence reportedly addressed the team prior to Saturday’s game about the need to come together as a unit with all of the new faces. According to one player, “It was less of a speech and more of a lesson. Hunter was the teacher and class was in session. As always, he nailed it.”

*Emmanuel Clase made his Major League debut yesterday and it was fun. He occasionally hit 99 mph but was primarily in the 100-101 range with a  93 mph slider. He has a good control and gets a lot of ground balls. It also looked like he threw a cutter at 98-99 mph. Nasty. Excited to watch him. As we watch him these final two months, however, don’t forget that he barely has 40 innings over A-ball and that there will be some lumps along the way for the 21-year old who was in short-season ball this time last year.

*Chris Woodward said that Willie Calhoun is the only outfielder who is currently an everyday player. With where the Rangers are right now in trying to give young guys a chance, it makes sense that over the final two months guys like Pence and Choo might get a few extra days off, but I thought it was interesting that Woody said the same might be the case for Nomar Mazara, who has struggled mightily against lefties and hasn’t taken a leap forward this year like many had hopes. 

*I’m excited to see Scott Heineman and Jose Trevino get their chances. Heineman could profile as a strong fourth outfielder. He isn’t exceptional at any one outfield spot but can play all three. He’s also gotten time at first recently so who knows. He’s a strong athlete whose battled injuries the last six or seven years. Trevino is so gifted defensively and from an intangible standpoint. For him it’s about the bat. He could be a career backup catcher and make a great career out of that, but if the bat develops, you’re looking at a very solid starting catcher.

*The Danny Santana experience has been lots of fun. I’m still not totally sure what to make of it but I’m just enjoying the ride. Is he a five-year starter or a guy having a great year who settles in as a strong utility player? I’m not totally positive, but I’m confident he’s a contributing player for the next few years.

*Chris Martin was very good for the Rangers this year. He’s a local lad with strong ties to the area so if the Rangers want him, they stand a good chance of getting him back this off-season in free agency.

*There’s a chance that certain guys see a shift in role over the final two months of the season. For instance, Willie Calhoun needs at-bats and I would be surprised to see Hunter Pence lose some of his to make that happen. I’d also like to see Danny Santana play some third base.

*Rougned Odor is a poor baserunner when the pitcher has the ball on the mound (i.e. getting picked off, stealing bases). He is, however, a very good baserunner with the ball in play (1st-to-3rd, 1st-to-home, balls in the dirt, reads off the bat, etc). He’s still hitting well, though. More numbers on that below.

STRATEGY NOTE OF THE WEEK

Amir Garrett gives no you-know-whats which, at times, isn’t bad, but probably not helping your odds in a fight

MOMENT OF THE WEEK

Scott Heineman with his first MLB hit!

KT’S “HOLY WOW” GREAT PLAY OF THE WEEK

Rougned Odor hit his second career walkoff home run on Saturday. It was a cool moment and one I’ll remember for a very long time because it was my first walkoff (of any kind) call at the big league level. Here’s the video. My call cam be heard midway when they replay it with the radio feed.

KT’S “HOLY WOW” WTF PLAY OF THE WEEK

Phillies SP Vince Velasquez was forced into left field world on a night he wasn’t starting due to roster moves during an extra inning game…and he made a big time play!

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

“I haven’t pitched that well. I’m ready to get past it and have some better outings.” - Mike Minor, who went 1-2 with a 6.59 ERA in July.

“We put a tall task in front of him having him catch at the Major League level. He’s done an unbelievable job, worked his tail off, gotten a lot better. There is still a ways to go and I think the reality is if we want him to develop exclusively as a catcher, it would probably be in the Minor Leagues. Jose is a little ahead of him defensively. Kiner deserved the opportunity to come up and play and the opportunity is at third base.” - Jon Daniels on Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s progression behind the plate and current role with the Rangers.

“We were very open-minded and remain open-minded as far as what adds value to the organization short and long term. Would we like to win next year? Absolutely. Will we do that at all costs? No. We are going to be smart about it, disciplined and continue to build. It’s all about the individual players and circumstances.” - Jon Daniels on future plans in roster building.

STATS OF THE WEEK

*Since June 1st, Danny Santana is slashing a robust .348/.364/.680 (1.043). His batting average and OPS rank 6th in MLB during that stretch and his slugging percentage ranks 4th.

*Rougie’s ranks since June 1 aren’t as impressive as Santana’s but still really good. Over a 54-game period, he’s slashing .250/.313/.542 (.854). Narrow that range to June 21st and Rougie’s OPS goes up to .981. He needs to be more consistent, but at least he hasn’t totally lost it.

*Back to Santana, if you don’t mind. He’s a switch-hitter, but he was essentially a liability versus LHP to start the year. Through June 7, Santana was slashing .138/.219/.241 (.460) against lefties. Since then he’s slashing .421/.424/.807 (1.231).

*That kind of mirrors the Rangers, as a team. Their struggles versus LHP were noticeable. Through July 7 they were among the worst in the league with a slash of .230/.302/.403. Since then, however, they’ve turned things around with a slash of .303/.336/.582 (.918)   and now their season numbers are around league average with a slash of .248/.312/.446 (.758).

*Lance Lynn’s 10.34 K/9 ranks 9th in the American League and is easily the best of his career. Entering this year, Lynn had recorded nine games of double-digit strikeouts over his career from 2011-2018. This year alone, however, he’s done it six times.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

*I’m shocked the Yankees made no moves to get better. The Astros now clearly have the best roster in baseball. And it doesn’t help that Edwin Encarnacion, Aaron Hicks, and Gleyber Torres now have injury issues.

*

*This is legendary

*I’m all for the value of prospects and not handing them out like party favors, but I wonder if teams are holding on to these guys too tightly. I saw a stat and was unable to track it down again but it was something along the lines of just 20-something % of prospects traded made the big leagues and that doesn’t even account for their varying degrees of success. Felipe Vazquez to the Dodgers is the interesting one to me. I gotta believe the Pirates would have been willing to do a deal without Dustin May or Gavin Lux but I guess the Dodgers just didn’t want to give away any combination of their other prospects…possible for a reliever who could put them over the top.

*Nelson Cruz has 313 home runs since his age-30 season. That’s 10th most in MLB history. Cruz has 390 career homers. That’s impressive by itself, but even more so when you consider he didn’t establish himself as an everyday player until he was 29 years old, amassing just 557 AB from 2005-2008 as he struggled to shed the “AAAA player” label. Nellie’s career 15.55 AB/HR actually ranks better than Ken Griffey Jr. (15.56), Hank Greenberg (15.69), and Willie McCovey (15.73), among others. His 313 home runs since his age-30 season ranks 10th all-time.

HE SAID IT!

Rangers SS Elvis Andrus chatted with Ben & Skin about gaining U.S. Citizenship, his love of history, and more!