The Rangers addressed their pitching staff earlier today when they acquired pitchers Lucas Harrell and Dario Alvarez from the Braves for second base prospect Travis Demeritte. The price was seemingly high—Demeritte was a starter in this year’s All-Star Futures Game—for two pitchers who had very little value when picked up by the Braves in late May. Harrell was signed to a Minor League contract four days after he was released by the Tigers. Alvarez was claimed off waivers from the Mets. But with pitching being the Rangers’ top priority, general manager Jon Daniels was able to acquire two pitchers who could help in 2016 and are not yet eligible for arbitration. In a conference call earlier today, Jon Daniels explained his thinking behind the deal.
Described by Daniels as “a sinker-baller who’s going well right now,” the 31-year-old Harrell will be reunited with current Rangers pitching coach Doug Brocail, whom he knows from his days with the Astros. Daniels said that Brocail’s assessment of Harrell was “more of a confirmation of what we thought” and the expectation is that he’ll be a part of their rotation. After tossing six shutout innings in his final Braves start on Tuesday, Harrell is lined up for a home start against the Royals on Sunday.
In regards to his new lefty reliever, Daniels called the 27-year-old Alvarez, who has allowed five earned runs in his 15 innings of work with an amazing 28-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio, a “real interesting guy” with “deceptive delivery and plus velocity.” He also mentioned that this was Alvarez’s first time with an extended run in the Major Leagues. “Sometimes you have to take a chance before a guy’s a household name”, said Daniels, who did just that when he traded for Sam Dyson on the last day of the 2015 trade deadline and has seen him blossom into a successful late-inning arm.
Asked if he was done addressing his pitching staff and if there was a possibility that he would acquire a non-pitcher before Monday’s deadline, Daniels said that he wouldn’t rule anything out. “We’re still having additional conversations”, he said, adding that pitching remains his team’s top priority.