The Rangers are actively seeking rotation upgrades, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, who points out that GM Jon Daniels said in a radio appearance this morning that he’s had the opportunity to make trades but has yet to find the right fit. The problem for the Rangers, according to Grant, is that teams speaking to Texas have persistently asked for either Joey Gallo or Jurickson Profar in exchange for available starting pitchers, either of which appears to be a deal-breaker for the time being.
Texas has heavily scouted the Rays and does have interest in right-hander Jake Odorizzi and lefty Matt Moore — senior director of player personnel Josh Boyd watched each pitch last week, per Grant — but Texas doesn’t seem keen on parting with either Profar or Gallo in a trade for Moore or Odorizzi. The Rangers would prefer Lewis Brinson to headline a deal for either pitcher, per Grant. They’d also like the Rays to be more willing to talk about Chris Archer, who is in the midst of a down season but was one of the American League’s most dominant starters last season and has maintained an elite strikeout rate.
Archer has been plagued by home runs this season but is still averaging 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings and is on one of the game’s more team-friendly deals (assuming some degree of a rebound), as he’s earning $2.75MM in 2016 and is owed a combined $20.25MM through 2019. That $20.25MM figure includes the $1.75MM buyout on a 2020 option worth $9MM, and Archer’s contract also comes with a 2021 option for $11MM. All told, he can be controlled for five seasons beyond the 2016 campaign at a total of $38.5MM. It’s understandable, then, why teams are so enamored of the 27-year-old Archer despite his downturn in production this year.
If the Rangers aren’t able to persuade the Rays to surrender one of their arms for a price with which Daniels and his staff are comfortable, Texas may turn to the Yankees. According to Grant, they’ve been looking Nathan Eovaldi, Ivan Nova and even CC Sabathia despite his significant contract. None of the three figures to come with an exorbitant asking price. Nova is a free agent at season’s end and is a fourth or fifth starter, while Sabathia is owed an enormous $25MM this season plus $25MM more in 2017 via a vesting option that will trigger so long as Sabathia doesn’t incur a significant shoulder injury in the season’s final two months. As such, one can imagine that the asking price on Sabathia would be negligible, though I can’t imagine Texas seriously considering a deal without the Yankees adding some degree of financial compensation.
Eovaldi, meanwhile, is earning $5.6MM this year and is controllable through 2017 but has wilted after a strong start to the year. The hard-throwing 26-year-old had a solid 3.71 ERA as recently as Memorial Day but has been shelled since June 1, pitching to a 9.20 ERA across six starts. That dismal slump saw Eovaldi banished to the bullpen, though he’s slated to return to the Yankees’ rotation tonight after pitching 7 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. His 2016 struggles and relatively brief amount of remaining club control could make Eovaldi attainable for second- or third-tier prospects, though it’s not clear if the Yankees will ultimately sell off pieces that are controllable beyond the current season. If they do, Grant notes that the Rangers can be added to the extremely long list of teams with interest in lefty Andrew Miller, though unlike the other Yankees mentioned here, the asking price on Miller would be astronomical.
While Rangers fans undoubtedly would prefer to see action sooner rather than later, Grant writes that Daniels is taking a patient approach and is waiting to see if any additional clubs enter the seller’s market in the 13 days between now and the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline.