Entering the season, it looked like a foregone conclusion that the Rangers would make Mike Minor available on the summer trade market, but their 31-28 record and current presence in the thick of the AL Wild Card picture has muddied things, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. At the very least, despite the fact that Minor is 31 years old and signed through 2020, the Rangers will have to at least explore the possibility of extending him, Grant surmises. At present, the team is in a strong position regardless; it’s easy to point to their record and proximity to a Wild Card spot in telling other clubs that they’d need to be blown away to consider a move. And if they’re able to sustain this play through late July, of course, then Minor will become a vital piece to a more legitimate push toward an unexpected playoff berth.
Minor, through 81 1/3 innings this year, has a 2.55 ERA with 9.6 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and 0.89 HR/9. As Grant notes, his dominance actually extends back into 2018, when he closed out the year with a terrific 17-start stretch. About two thirds of respondents in last week’s MLBTR poll on Minor’s future felt the organization should trade him; they’ve gone 4-2 in the six games since.
Here’s more out of Arlington…
- Minor himself addressed the situation when talking with Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, acknowledging that he keeps up with trade rumors throughout the year. Minor feels that it’d be a mistake to make such a move with the Rangers playing well and voiced confidence that the team can continue to keep pace in its push for a postseason bid. “I know something could happen, but my honest opinion is if they do trade me, they’re going to go out there and buy a bunch of free agents this off-season,” said Minor. “Unless they’re getting young, controllable guys back.”
- Jose Leclerc is “getting close” to reclaiming the ninth-inning role, manager Chris Woodward said again this week (link via Wilson). Leclerc had an absolutely awful start to the season due to shaky control, but over the past month he’s notched a 1.76 ERA with a ridiculous 28-to-6 K/BB ratio in 15 1/3 innings of work (16.4 K/9). “I just love the kid so much,” said Woodward of Leclerc. “He wants to win so bad. He’s willing to do whatever we ask. He’s been pitching lights out. Just the command with his fastball and getting the weird swings with his changeup. Yeah, it’s getting close.”
- Delino DeShields connected with a walk-off single to cap a four-hit showing last night, and Wilson’s piece also looks at his chances of sticking on the roster. Woodward feels that DeShields’ swing “looks so much better and more efficient” after a brief reset in the minors. DeShields is getting another look at the moment due to injuries sustained by Joey Gallo and Willie Calhoun, but Texas will eventually have that trio, the resurgent Hunter Pence, Shin-Soo Choo and Nomar Mazara all in the mix for outfield and DH at-bats, creating a bit of a logjam. DeShields still needs to demonstrate that he can have some prolonged success, of course, but he’s off to a nice start in trying to force his way back into the mix. Notably, Wilson adds that Calhoun could begin a minor league rehab assignment next week.