At this point in the season, the Rangers are stumbling in 5th place looking for hope to cling to. After a highly competitive streak with the Rays this weekend, GM Chris Young and Baseball Operations President Jon Daniels will have to decide on a course of action this summer. My advice? Time to make a few moves with the pitching staff.
The pitching for the Rangers in the last 10 games hasn’t been great, but Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy have been superb this entire season. And as the season approaches the heart, contenders will be looking for a pitcher in the middle of the rotation or a strong bullpen piece to bolster a pitching stick. Both would be major players that could be postponed at close of trading.
Gibson is 4-0 this year but didn’t have the most help on the offensive. In 11 starts, the offense was limited to fewer than 5 runs scored in 6 of those games. Gibson has a very strong 2.06 ERA so far and with a 2.9 WAR he has proven to be the Rangers’ strongest and most effective thrower alongside Ian Kennedy and John King. Gibson still has some control over its contract through 2022, so it means more than a 3-month rental for any team willing to take a risk on the rejuvenated veteran.
Kennedy has 12 saves, John King has 5 wins, and these are 2 of the better relief pitchers the Rangers have and they have more value in a trade right now when they are doing well. Sure, there are guys like Joely Rodriguez, Brett Martin, and Josh Sborz who could get you something solid too, but with this makeover, the aging pitchers are the ones you’d love to see go to make room for the youth in the organization . Kennedy is not a long term acquisition for any team as he is only in town on a 1 year contract so the return on investment won’t be huge for him, but any AA level prospect would be worth getting closer to for the veteran to become.
Mike Foltynewicz is also a name you’d likely see in rumors. It obviously wasn’t good this year so the value isn’t there. But if the Rangers got an offer for him, they’d be listening for his performance this season alone. There’s no telling if the Rangers will even get an offer, so Folty is more of a wildcard in this case. Hope for a quote, but prepare with him for the rest of the season, or until he starts to improve a little.
Sure, it may be premature to start talking about trades now with over a month’s notice, but good teams don’t wait until the last minute to make calls. Don’t be surprised if the Rangers aren’t already answering calls for what they have.