Trade Chips: Texas Rangers

by: Eric Boston @EricBoston3

The Texas Rangers are currently sitting in the cellar of a tough American League West division.

While the Rangers may have appeared ready to contend not too long ago, things have changed. Houston is one of few elite teams in baseball. Seattle has found something that works, making the division even tougher. The A’s and the Angels are both good ball clubs, especially if the Angels can stay healthy.

Texas is in a spot where being sellers in 2018 makes too much sense.

They have veteran players that no doubt help contending teams. Those players can bring back good returns that will help the Rangers be ready to contend when other teams in the division should start to decline a bit.

Here are the Rangers top three trade chips.

Cole Hamels
 Hamels numbers are not eye-popping. He is sporting a 4.05 ERA with a 4-7 record.

The 34 year old lefty is still averaging a strike out per inning though. He has 104 Ks compared to 37 BBs in his 102.1 IP. For a team that is looking to add SP depth, Hamels is going to be someone teams look at. Perhaps those numbers improve with a change of scenery.

Hamels has a team option on his contract, so any team that trades for him has the ability to keep him in 2019. That is another big plus when considering moving assets for a veteran pitcher.

Best Fits: New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers

While going back to the team that drafted him in Philadelphia checks the box for feel-good stories, I’m just not sure that it is the smartest move for the Phillies.

However, it makes a lot of sense for the Yankees.

New York, while early in the season it was questioned, has found their ace in Luis Severino. Adding Hamels in behind him in the rotation matches him up better in a playoff series.

Adrian Beltre
Age does not seem to be slowing down the future Hall of Famer.

At 39 years old Beltre is slashing .309/.375/.438 and has put up 1.5 WAR so far. While injury is always a concern at this point, it should not cause teams to shy away that need an upgrade at the hot corner.

Beltre is a free agent at the end of the year, so it is a good bet that any team dealing for him is not looking at him contributing in 2019.

Best Fits: Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals

The Braves should go in on Beltre hard.

Third base has been Atlanta’s biggest question mark all season. Beltre could solidify the position and bring a veteran presence to a young team that is prepared to compete now.

The door has opened for Atlanta to win the National League East in 2018 and unlike Philadelphia, who I feel is still a year or so away from real contention, the Braves are stacked with legit talent to compete for an NL pennant.

Shin-Soo Choo
In his age 35 season, Choo is still a good bat.

The lefty hitter is slashing .289/.399/.494 with 16 HRs and has accumulated 2.9 WAR in 2018. An AL team looking to add some more pop to their lineup could have their eyes on Choo.

He is signed through 2020, offering team control which is something that is always valuable. As long as he keeps hitting he will have a spot on a major league roster.

Best Fits: Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox

Here is where it gets tricky.

While Choo’s bat can definitely play, finding an AL contender that has a spot for him is a bit of a difficulty. The Angels seem to be the best option.

LA could move Shohei Ohtani to RF opening up the DH spot for Choo. The rookie two-way sensation is back from injury…as a hitter. He has the speed and athleticism to play the corner OF. The question is, will the team want to put him in a spot where he has to make throws?

If the Angels hope to catch up with Seattle and secure a Wild Card spot, this is the type of move that you roll the dice on.

The Texas Rangers have the goods, now they just need to find the fits during the month of July. If they are aggressive they could add some nice pieces to compete in the future.

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