The availability of Rangers lefty Mike Minor remains a key topic in the development of the 2019 summer trade market. The 31-year-old southpaw is among several quality veteran hurlers who could — but may not necessarily — end up on the move in the next two weeks.
Texas GM Jon Daniels has suggested that the club’s approach won’t be swayed too much by the standings, but it’s hard to ignore that as a factor. Entering play today, the Rangers sat 8.5 games back of the Astros, in third place in the AL West, and four games out of Wild Card position with four clubs in better position to claim the two play-in game slots.
Under the circumstances, MLB.com’s Jon Morosi seems to be stating the obvious when he writes that the Texas front office is “increasingly open-minded” about spinning Minor off in a trade. Indeed, that’s very nearly exactly how Daniels himself has publicly characterized the matter, indicating that says he’s hesitant but can’t rule out a trade involving Minor.
That’s not pleasing news for the veteran southpaw himself, as MLB.com’s TR Sullivan reports. Minor says that rumors of a sell-off “make us mad.” It sounds as if he’d rather stay and fight down the stretch. “I don’t want to go anywhere,” said Minor. “My name was talked about in the offseason, so I’m used to it. It seems like ever since I signed, I’ve been a topic. It’s like I signed here just to be traded.”
While that is something of an exaggeration, it’s not entirely untrue. Minor was a widely pursued pitcher when the Rangers nabbed him by promising him a chance to start and making a three-year commitment. The contract has worked out better than even the most optimistic predictions. With the Texas club still in a transition phase, it has fielded persistent interest in Minor — whose appeal is enhanced by his quality results this year (2.73 ERA in 122 innings) and affordable 2020 contract rights ($9.5MM).
Given their recent slide, the question is probably a fairly straightforward one for the Rangers, who value Minor for the same essential reasons that most other clubs do. They’ll simply wait to see if they’re offered enough young talent to give up the chance to keep a very good hurler at a nice price for the opening year of their new ballpark. If not, they can comfortably hang onto him.