It wasn’t long ago that the Rangers looked as if they were likely to buy at the July 31 trade deadline, but the club’s now plummeting down the standings. Losers of seven straight, the Rangers sit 50-49 and six games back of a wild-card spot. The club could sell before the deadline as a result, with Mike Minor, Hunter Pence and Danny Santana representing a few of its players who have drawn reported interest of late. Add right-handed relievers Jose Leclerc and Chris Martin to the group, per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
Between Leclerc and Martin, the former clearly boasts more trade value. Leclerc’s a season removed from performing like one of the game’s very best relievers, and he’s controllable for the foreseeable future at team-friendly prices. After Leclerc’s dominant 2018, the Rangers locked him up to a four-year, $14.75MM guarantee with club options for $6MM (2023) and $6.25MM (’24).
Although the 25-year-old Leclerc hasn’t been the force he was last season, he has largely moved past a dismal opening to 2019. Leclerc owned an ERA upward of 7.00 through April, causing the Rangers to remove him as their closer, but that number is now a more palatable 4.20. The hard-throwing Leclerc’s 3.44 FIP is far better, while his 13.6 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 comprise an above-average K/BB ratio (3.09).
Martin – another high-velocity option – has been effective this season, but the 33-year-old is down to his last couple months of team control. He’s making $2.25MM to close out the two-year, $4MM contract he signed with the Rangers in 2018 after pitching in Japan over the previous two seasons.
Martin walked just over a batter per nine innings last year in his stateside return, but the figure has shrunk to a tiny .73 this season. He’s also striking out 9.97, helping Martin to the majors’ leading K/BB ratio (13.67) among qualified relievers. Martin has also posted an attractive ERA (3.16), though FIP (4.06) isn’t nearly as bullish. It’s also worth noting home runs have become an extreme problem for Martin, who has yielded 1.95 per nine after averaging a bit more than one over the same span in 2018. Oddly enough, Martin’s newfound HR troubles have come despite a massive groundball increase. He has induced them 49 percent of the time in 2019 after doing so at a 40.5 percent clip last season.