We’re clearly past wondering whether the Rangers will enter the deadline in position to pursue a 2019 postseason spot, with the club collapsing out of range of plausible contention. But that doesn’t mean it’s obvious how the organization will handle trade talks in the coming days.
Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels will have to decide whether to pursue trades involving several players who could be of future use in Texas. Outfielder Nomar Mazara has popped up on the rumor mill, as has reliever Jose Leclerc. It’s interesting to wonder about those talented younger players, neither of whom has performed to expectations this year, but they aren’t the club’s most intriguing deadline candidates. That status belongs instead to veteran starters Mike Minor and Lance Lynn.
Appearing on 105.3 The Fan’s Ben and Skin Show (transcript via the Dallas Morning News), Daniels discussed a variety of topics of hot-stove interest. But his comments on Minor and Lynn are most noteworthy given the still-uncertain status of this summer’s starting pitching market.
Daniels made clear that the Texas club values these pitchers “at a very high level.” He provided support for that position by observing: “You’ve got guys that are performing at a high level, that are filling a need that we need now and we’re going to need going forward. We need more pitching, not less ultimately.”
There’s plenty of truth in that statement, even if the Rangers have to listen to offers. (Daniels has already said they will.) This is a club that’s opening a new ballpark next year — “ultimately people come to see the team on the field,” Daniels noted while discussing the impact of the stadium — and has elected not to launch a full-throated rebuild. While the 2019 Opening Day payroll sat lower than at any point since 2011, it still checked in at levels that would cause some small-market clubs heart palpitations ($118MM).
The Texas club is obviously interested in putting a good product on the field year after year. And there’s no doubting the roster’s dire need for starting pitching. Parting with good starting pitching (with future contract control) would open a hole that’ll need to be filled somehow.
True, the Rangers can go out looking for the next versions of Minor and Lynn. They’ll probably do so regardless. But it’s awfully tough to assume that they’ll have near as much success with their next buy-low, three-year contract as they have with their prior two. Minor ($28MM) and Lynn ($30MM) inked near-identical deals in successive winters, with the Rangers luring both with longer deals than many anticipated while promising limited average annual salaries. They’ve each been among the game’s most productive starters this year.
It’s certainly plenty appealing to hang onto these hurlers and continue to hope they provide good value over the remaining years on their contracts. (With one season remaining for Minor and two for Lynn, speculation has mostly focused on the former, though that doesn’t necessarily reflect the preferences of interested teams.) On the other hand, both are over thirty years of age with somewhat worrying injury histories. And market circumstances could align to create rather significant interest, particularly if other quality starters end up carrying audacious price tags.
Given the competing considerations, Daniels says, the Rangers won’t be moving off of their own lofty valuations on these hurlers. If the club ends up dealing one or both, he suggests, we’ll know why as soon as the swap is reported: “If we ultimately get to a place where we’re going to consider moving any of our big-league pitchers, it’s going to be because it clearly makes sense to do so. I think the return will speak for itself.”
I see them trading mike minor but not lance lynn
Not sure they get a king’s ransom for Minor. He’s faltered a bit lately.
I could see a Mike Minor-Clint Frazier one-for-one swap…
he has faltered a bit. I was reading an article about how the trade discussions tend to affect people (not just Mike), I would think it would have to be true at least a little. Very different to pitch for a team chasing a wildcard spot and one that has hung up the spikes for 2019. I don’t think 2 meh starts impact a teams valuation of a 1.75 years of good pitching.
You may be able to see that in your head but Frazier would have to be the headliner of a package with 1-2 prospects to get Minor. 1 for 1 ain’t happening. Dude is an all star with control.
Frazier is not enough for Minor. You have to remember he has another year on his contract. He’s an all-star pitcher and owed little money. Teams would have to spend at least twice as much (20+ million per year) to get his type of production in Free Agency, which is ultimately why I believe the Rangers won’t trade him.
If the past is any indication I don’t think that will alter his trade value a bit.
jon daniels knows that the new ballpark is opening next year and will not trade anyone with control through next year unless the return is someone whos a legit 2020 mlb ready player. plus he has little to no money from ownership to work with which is why they likely wont trade anyone. hard to be competitive much less contend when u cut payroll as much as they have.
the nice thing about Minor or Lynn is that the market places such a high value on starting pitching, so you probably can get someone from an mlb roster or mlb ready plus for him. Think about what the Yankees would have to give? Frasior plus a few has to be the starting point.
P.S. I would be fine giving Frasior a shot in rightfield next year in the new ballpark, that guy needs a chance to start.
Absolutey. Buy low, build them up, sell. People aren’t heading to the new stadium because Lance Lynn is on the team. He’s a sturdy mid-rotation guy.
There is already a backlog of outfielders for the Rangers…Gallo, Mazara, Choo, Pence, Deshields, and Willie Calhoun. Plus 3 of our top 6 prospects (Martinez, Thompson and Taveras) are OF. We need pitching, 1B, and 3B. We went heavy on 3B in the draft so the answer for 3B could potentially be there but in my opinion we don’t need another OF. Frazier has shown talent for sure, but he’s about to be 25–not that that is old, but older for a prospect (Mazara is actually a year younger than him).
When you happen into a successful reclamation, you have to flip these guys while they have value.
No one wanted Minor his offseason, if he can fetch you two legit specs, with a year+ left on his deal that is for sure time to sell.
Not to mention the fact that the guy has a history of shoulder problems and wasn’t sure that he’d ever go back to starting because he wasn’t 100% sure that it would hold out for a long period of time. Now hopefully those issues are behind him, but do you take that chance if you can get a good return?
Trade minor back to Atlanta
No, please no. His regression was inevitable.
i’d hate to trade for someone you cut recently
Rather have Lynn than Minor if Atlanta is making a deal
Value at its highest JD can’t risk a regression with so many identifiable buyers desperately looking for controlled starting pitching. One could argue to expedite his rebuild, it’d be smart to market both Lance Lynn and Minor.
He should absolutely trade Minor since he’s a pending FA but hold on to Lynn. His contract is cheap by baseball standards and he’s a good pitcher.
Minor is a pending FA in 2020 bud
Minor is signed through next year
The whole Nomar Mazara trade talk is really interesting. Between Minor, Leclerc, and Mazara as bigger pieces and Pence, Santana, and Martin also clear trade candidates they could really overhaul the org here. Curious to watch how much happens.