The Texas Rangers beat the worst team in baseball on July 27th. That victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks was their first since July 9th. They did not hold a lead for 99 straight innings. They were firing squaded ruthlessly over and over. They left no doubt as to the weakness of the roster. There is no point holding assets with value and over a year of control just to lose 100 games. This is the worst Rangers team since Buck Showalter’s 2002 squad featuring Chan Ho Park. At least that team had offensive weapons on display. This current Rangers offense is anemic. The pitching is just as bad as the 2002 team, with Kenny Rogers and Kyle “Ace” Gibson mirroring each other’s role.
The trade deadline is July 31st. The Rangers will try to trade any player with value coming off the heels of one of the worst streaks in baseball history. The Rangers most likely players to be traded are: lefty John King, Kyle “Ace” Gibson, All Star outfielders Joey Gallo and Adolis Garcia, and closer Ian Kennedy.
King has been the best man out of the bullpen in a season that began with Matt Bush and Jose Leclerc blowing their arms out. King is entering his prime, and appears to be coming into his own. Leclerc was one of the few players the Rangers actually signed long term. He was awful after getting his contract, then struggled with injuries.
Ian Kennedy has been lights out as the closer of the American Leagues’ worst team. Kennedy has been excellent at preserving the rare 9th inning leads the Rangers manage to get. Kennedy throws almost all fastballs. He is 16/17 in save situations this season. Playoff teams always need backend bullpen help, and Kennedy has the veteran pedigree to prove his numbers are not a flash in the pan. Kennedy won 21 games in 2011.
Adolis Garcia has been electric in the first half of the season. Garcia’s scintillating season is the most noteworthy thing about the 2021 Rangers campaign. Garcia solo carried a handful of games. He is fast, plays good defense, and has pop. He also never walks and strikes out a ton. Many teams view him as a flash in the pan, but he could be a bit like Yasiel Puig. Exciting and aggressive players with tremendous spirit.
Playoff teams always need starting pitching. The Rangers Opening Day starter Kyle “Ace” Gibson had the lowest ERA in the AL at the All Star Break. He had no losses for half the season. The Rangers have 1.5 years of control on Gibson, meaning he is not just a rental. This increases his value tremendously. The same can be said of Joey Gallo, who is the most likely piece to be moved.
Gallo is the Rangers only truly marketable player. He is an electric star. He hits tremendous homers and has a massive arm. He is from Nevada and has charisma. He has stated multiple times he hoped to re-sign in Texas. It is far more likely he will be traded to the Yankees for a package of underwhelming prospects.
The Rangers have some serious assets to trade before the deadline. There is 0 chance they make the playoffs. Kyle Gibson or Gallo could put a handful of teams over the top. The Brewers, Reds, and Rays are especially good fits.
The Yankees, who cannot win a pennant because their entire lineup is full of high strikeout sluggers, decided what they really needed at the deadline was… another slugger. Gallo is the epitome of the “three true outcome” style hitter. He is nicknamed Walk or Dong. He literally had more homers than singles for the majority of his career. If Gallo is traded to the Yankees, as it seems like he will be, it will be a foolish move on their part. The Yankees have a lineup full of sluggers who cannot hit breaking pitches. They decided the way to supplement their lineup of sluggers that cannot hit elite playoff pitching was to trade for a guy who is consistently top of the league in strikeouts. The Yanks tried this a couple years ago with Edwin Encarnacion. He was awful in the playoffs and struck out a ton.
Hopefully the Yankees sluggers do the same thing this season. The last time the Yanks won a pennant was 2009. They were dethroned by the Rangers the next season and have not won a pennant since. In many ways, the Rangers toppling the Yanks in 2010 was a changing of the guard. The Yanks dominated the Rangers, going back to the Washington Senators days. The Senators moved to Texas in 1972 and became the Rangers. The Rangers did not make the playoffs until 1996. They met the Yanks in the first round. The Rangers won the first game in Yankee stadium against proven playoff ace David Cone. AL MVP Juan Gonzalez homered in this game and dominated the series. The Rangers were ahead going into the late innings of game two. Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams engineered a comeback. The Rangers went back to Texas knowing they had only lost one game to the Yanks at home that season. They proceeded to lose the next two games. That was the first major flashpoint in the Yankee/Rangers rivalry. The Rangers made the playoffs again in 1998 and 1999. They were swept both times by the Yanks.
That is why Yankees/Rangers is still an exciting rivalry. The adversarial relationship between Texas and New York goes back a long time. Seeing them conduct a big trade like this is odd.
The Rangers will continue to try to improve with trades.