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  • Trade Target Team Profile: Texas Rangers

    The Big Picture

    The Rangers have been the American League representative in the World Series each of the past two seasons. In 2012, they are 46-29 and battling with the New York Yankees for the best record in the league. To no surprise, the Los Angeles Angels have started playing (pitching) better and despite a slow start, they are just 4.5 games behind Texas.

    Why They Will Trade With the Twins

    The Rangers donít have a lot of needs. Generally, they are considered one of, if not the, best all-around teams in baseball. They have the best offense in baseball. Their pitching staff is among the top five in baseball.

    However, the Rangers have shown in recent years that they are willing to deal at the trade deadline to become even stronger. Two years ago, they gave up (then) top prospect Justin Smoak to Seattle for Cliff Lee. Last year, they had one of baseballís strongest bullpens and went out and acquired Koji Uehara and Mike Adams and Michael Gonzalez. Then in the offseason, they signed Joe Nathan.

    If Justin Morneau can possibly turn things around and hit for the next three weeks, he is a possible target as he would be a little improvement over the currently-injured Mitch Moreland at first base.
    David Murphy plays left field most of the time with Josh Hamilton in centerfield. Late in games, they move Hamilton to left field and insert Craig Gentry for defensive purposes. The team would like to move Hamilton to left field more permanently. Currently, the Rangers leadoff hitter is Ian Kinsler who does a decent job of getting on base, but with his power, he might fit better down in the lineup. Denard Span would make a lot of sense for the Rangers as he could take over in center field and in the leadoff spot. Of course, they could also inquire about Josh Willingham to take over in left field or DH (with Michael Young playing more first base). Much depends upon how well Leonys Martin can play over the next month.

    Of course, with Nolan Ryan involved, it would surprise no one if the Rangers did target some additional pitching. That means names like Francisco Liriano, Glen Perkins and Jared Burton could be trade targets, as well.

    Why They Won't Trade With the Twins

    As mentioned above, the Rangers do not have many needs. The Rangersí offense currently leads MLB in Batting Average (.282), On-Base Percentage (.343), Slugging Percentage (.456), and of course OPS (.800). The Rangers are also fourth in MLB in team ERA (3.61) and Batting Average Against (.242).

    How much more salary will the team want to incur going forward? In the offseason, Josh Hamilton will become a free agent.

    The Rangers have a strong farm system. They have the talent to win already, as they have proven the last two-plus seasons. Their core, along with some of the impressive stable of prospects in their system, could keep the Rangers in contention for years to come.

    Conclusion

    The Rangers do not have a lot of needs, but after falling short in the World Series each of the past two seasons, they will certainly be willing to deal to make themselves better. The Rangers have a strong farm system and have shown a willingness to use it to acquire players in each of the past two seasons. With their 20 year, $3 billion television contract from Fox Sports Southwest, payroll is not an issue. According to Forbes, the Rangers are worth $674 million, a 20% increase from 2011. However, adding a player like Denard Span and his team-friendly contract would make their offense, and their defense, even stronger. And based on last year, the Rangers clearly believe that you can never have too much quality pitching.

    Here is a list five Rangers prospects that the Twins could look for in return in potential trades.

    ~~~

    Possible Trade Targets

    Martin Perez - LHP
    Perez is set to make his much-anticipated Major League debut this weekend for the Rangers. The 21-year-old southpaw was called up to take the place of Colby Lewis who was put on the Disabled List. Perez has always been very young for his level of competition. Baseball American has ranked him 17th, 24th and 31st respectively in their Top 100 prospect lists. He has a fastball in the low 90s with sink, a good changeup and a sharp, slow curveball. His potential is immense, although he is yet to experience much success at the AAA-level.

    Tanners Scheppers - RHP
    Scheppers played for the St. Paul Saints before the 2009 draft. The Rangers selected him in the supplemental first round that year. It was the third time he had been drafted because he has tremendous stuff. His fastball reaches into the mid-90s. He has a very good curveball as well. There were often durability concerns with him, and he struggled at times with control. The 25-year-old began this season in the AAA bullpen where he walked just four and struck out 27 in 29 innings. He was called up to the Rangers in early June where he has just one walk and nine strikeouts in 7.1 innings.

    Jurickson Profar - SS
    Profar is one of the elite prospects in baseball. The shortstop turned 19 in February and is currently hitting .289/.369/.463 (.832) in Double-A. He has 17 doubles, six triples, seven homers, 34 RBI and nine stolen bases. This comes after posting an OPS of .883 last year in High-A ball. The reality is that the Twins likely couldnít get Profar in exchange for Span, Morneau and Perkins. But could the Rangers reigning shortstop, Elvis Andrus, be available? He is just 23 and has been their starting shortstop since 2009. He can hit and field and is in the first year of a three-year, $14.4 million deal that takes him to free agency.

    Neil Ramirez - RHP
    23-year-old Ramirez came in to the season as a top prospect, but he has struggled at AAA. The 2003 first-round pick out of high school in Virginia Beach throws hard. As a starter, his fastball sits in the low-90s but touches 96. This spring, in a one-inning stint, he touched 98 mph. His curveball is said to be his best pitch, although he also has a very good changeup. Still young, he profiles as a mid-rotation starter, but with a fastball that is impressive.

    Cody Buckel - RHP
    Buckel was the Rangers second round pick in 2010 out of high school. He just turned 20 and made his first AA start. At High-A Myrtle Beach, he was 5-3 with a 1.31 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. In 75.2 innings, he walked 25 but he struck out 91. He has a fastball that touches 94. He throws a cutter that sits between 85-90. He has a good 12-6 curveball in the 70s. He throws a slider in the low-80s. He also has a good changeup in the low-80s.

    Please add your thoughts and trade ideas (and other names the Twins could pursue) in the comments below!

    This article was originally published in blog: Trade Target Team Profile: Texas Rangers started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 23 Comments
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      If the Twins are called upon to make a deal with the Rangers, the guy they need to come home with is Luis Sardinas. He's not Profar, but someday he could be close... and he'd be much cheaper.
    1. PMKI's Avatar
      PMKI -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      If the Twins are called upon to make a deal with the Rangers, the guy they need to come home with is Luis Sardinas. He's not Profar, but someday he could be close... and he'd be much cheaper.
      Is Sardinas expected to develop some power? I noticed he only has 5 extra-base hits.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      Why does almost every other team seem to have better pitching prospects than the Twins?
    1. twinsfanstreif's Avatar
      twinsfanstreif -
      Neil Ramirez was drafted in 2007 not 2003. But I like that the rangers have a lot of good pitching prospects, they seem like a good trading partner. Span for a few good pitching prospects would be nice.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Wouldn't it be nice to have the best team in the majors, AND have these kinds of prospects littered through your farm?
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      Wouldn't it be nice to have the best team in the majors, AND have these kinds of prospects littered through your farm?
      The Rangers club is a good argument for the "creative destruction" model of successfully competing in the business world. It's almost exactly 2 years ago that Texas filed for bankruptcy, $500Mil in arrears in salaries owed. New management built a strong, sound franchise on a leftover base of tradeable or developable assets that wasn't currently jelling in the previous philosophical approach. In turn, they aren't afraid of taking risks in finding new young talent and back-filling with proven talent in areas of need, and now look where they are. How about some creative destruction in the Twin's philosophies and front office staff?
    1. twinswon1991's Avatar
      twinswon1991 -
      Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
      Why does almost every other team seem to have better pitching prospects than the Twins?

      It is pretty simple. You have a clueless GM unwilling to make drastic changes to the scouting and medical departments that have proven time and again they are the worst in baseball.

      Until Terry Ryan steps down, this team has no chance!
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
      Why does almost every other team seem to have better pitching prospects than the Twins?
      because we don't have many good pitching prospects..
    1. Gernzy's Avatar
      Gernzy -
      Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
      Why does almost every other team seem to have better pitching prospects than the Twins?
      Most of our top pitching prospects have had injury problems.
      Don't listen to the haters its not Terry Ryan's fault.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Gernzy View Post
      Most of our top pitching prospects have had injury problems.
      Don't listen to the haters its not Terry Ryan's fault.
      Well, it is and it isn't. It's partially his fault for the Twins having to turn to guys like Blackburn because they have no other options. It's also partially Smith's fault for not stocking the farm with quality pitchers during his three years as GM (though IMO the Gibson pick was still a great one).

      On the other hand, Ryan drafted Matt Garza, who Bill Smith traded away (a move that flabbergasted me at the time due to the imminent departure of Johan). He also drafted Scott Baker, who is injured.

      It's beating a dead horse but if the Twins had Garza, Baker, and Liriano heading the rotation (or swap out Gibson for Baker), they'd probably be contending right now.

      In short, it's a little bit of everyone's fault mixed with a healthy dose of bad luck. People love to rail on the Twins' drafting but it hasn't been that bad. It hasn't been that good, either...
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Quote Originally Posted by PMKI View Post
      Is Sardinas expected to develop some power? I noticed he only has 5 extra-base hits.
      There's hope. He's only 150 lbs right now. Tools-wise, he's "Ben Revere with a cannon".
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by rocketpig View Post
      Well, it is and it isn't. It's partially his fault for the Twins having to turn to guys like Blackburn because they have no other options. It's also partially Smith's fault for not stocking the farm with quality pitchers during his three years as GM (though IMO the Gibson pick was still a great one).

      On the other hand, Ryan drafted Matt Garza, who Bill Smith traded away (a move that flabbergasted me at the time due to the imminent departure of Johan). He also drafted Scott Baker, who is injured.

      It's beating a dead horse but if the Twins had Garza, Baker, and Liriano heading the rotation (or swap out Gibson for Baker), they'd probably be contending right now.

      In short, it's a little bit of everyone's fault mixed with a healthy dose of bad luck. People love to rail on the Twins' drafting but it hasn't been that bad. It hasn't been that good, either...
      pretty much this, though in Smith's defense... at the time the Twins were considered to have a dearth of pitching talent and not much on the hitting side. Slowey was in that mix too, and was breaking out until that injury. As such many were clamoring that they trade from their excess to pick up hitting, which is exactly what the did... The problem was that Smith is clearly not a talent evaulator or a negotiator.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      pretty much this, though in Smith's defense... at the time the Twins were considered to have a dearth of pitching talent and not much on the hitting side. Slowey was in that mix too, and was breaking out until that injury. As such many were clamoring that they trade from their excess to pick up hitting, which is exactly what the did... The problem was that Smith is clearly not a talent evaulator or a negotiator.
      I mostly agree except for the "trade from excess" part. When you're in a situation where you basically have to trade Johan Santana, you do not also trade your best young pitcher in Matt Garza.

      That was my problem with the Garza trade. It didn't make any sense to trade him away when you know that Santana is on his way out as well. The Twins had holes all over but Smith should have known that the hardest hole to patch is starting pitching. Finding outfielders is one of the easier tasks for a baseball GM.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Anyone know more about Neil Ramirez, who Seth listed above? He sure seems like a good fit that wouldn't break the bank.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      Anyone know more about Neil Ramirez, who Seth listed above? He sure seems like a good fit that wouldn't break the bank.
      I just glanced over the BA scouting report and saw "concerns about his high back elbow". I'm sure Parker can take it from there...
    1. shs_59's Avatar
      shs_59 -
      I was a huge proponent, John, as you may re-call for Niel Ramirez Back in Late April/ Early May.

      In my Twins possible Trade Targets post.

      But since then Ramirez has really struggled, I believe he is pitching hurt, he just got demoted to AA. And I'm glad the Twins did stay away from him, and Hopefully (at this point) continue to do so....because he's a mess right now. On the Other hand if the Rangers have soured on him it could be a GREAT time to bring him in on the Cheap, as sort of a filler to a Another Deal
    1. biggentleben's Avatar
      biggentleben -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      Anyone know more about Neil Ramirez, who Seth listed above? He sure seems like a good fit that wouldn't break the bank.
      His motion and delivery is such that if he is off a bit, he's off a ton, and it's not pretty. Most assume because of this that he'll end up a reliever long-term. Nice arm, but he's not the type of guy in that system of arms that you'd target and expect to develop. The odd thing with the Rangers system is that they've gotten some breathtaking arms like Ramirez and Martin Perez, and both have really not developed into what was once hoped based on their talent level.
    1. shs_59's Avatar
      shs_59 -
      Ohh and do add i'm pretty sure at this point SS Jurickson Profar is all but untouchable...

      It'd take Burton or Perk or Duensing plus Willingham just to get 1 of Andrus or Profar + maybe a Grimm type back.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      There's hope. He's only 150 lbs right now. Tools-wise, he's "Ben Revere with a cannon".
      "Hope" in that the Great Plouffe would mentor this young one in the ways of slugging (in the event he gets traded to us).
    1. biggentleben's Avatar
      biggentleben -
      Quote Originally Posted by shs_59 View Post
      Ohh and do add i'm pretty sure at this point SS Jurickson Profar is all but untouchable...

      It'd take Burton or Perk or Duensing plus Willingham just to get 1 of Andrus or Profar + maybe a Grimm type back.
      An offer like that would have the Rangers laughing and hanging up the phone.
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