Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels indicated today that he is not willing to rule out a trade of top starter Mike Minor, as TR Sullivan of MLB.com was among those to cover on Twitter.
While Daniels also made clear he isn’t particularly inclined to move the organization’s best pitcher, it’s notable that he’s adopting such an open stance on the subject at this point of the season. With just over two weeks to go until the trade deadline, the Rangers are still sitting just 2.5 games out of Wild Card position. Though the eight-game gap in the division likely can’t be bridged, it’s not inconceivable that the Texas club will be in shouting distance by the end of the month.
All things considered, it’s a practical and realistic position to take for the Rangers’ top baseball decisionmaker. When he addressed the club’s deadline stance a month ago, Daniels said he intended to “stay true to our mind-set of trying to balance, continue to place a priority on the next few years.” He wouldn’t be swayed much by the standings, he further indicated, explaining: “overall we know which direction we’re going in.”
For an organization that hopes to reload with young talent while remaining competitive in the near-term, this has been a bit of a dream season. Not only has the club hit on several (but not all) free-agent investments, and seen strides from some (again, not all) key young players, it has put itself in position for a legitimate run at a playoff spot.
As for Minor … he fits somewhere in the middle on all fronts. Signed to a three-year deal before the 2018 season, he has outperformed all expectations. The $9.5MM salary he’s due this year and next seems to be a bargain now that Minor is through 117 innings of 2.54 ERA ball on the season. While the Rangers would like to continue enjoying Minor’s presence atop a rotation that still has quite a few questions, the chance of cashing in obviously tantalizes as well.
There’s one other possibility, of course: an extension. But Minor is 31 years of age and has a worrying history of arm maladies. Whether or not he’d be amenable to sorting out a new deal isn’t clear, but the Rangers would no doubt need to tread carefully for a contract to present a clear value proposition. At this point, it seems hard to view the possibility of an extension as a significant factor.
Ultimately, Daniels indicates more that he’s open to listening to offers than preparing to shop the veteran lefty. There’s a notable difference there, at least in theory. But the key question will arise at the point of decision. Will the Texas organization stand on a hefty asking price or will it ultimately take the best reasonable offer it’s able to procure?