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MLB Trade Rumors: Are The Texas Rangers Buying Or Selling?

Yesterday the Texas Rangers moved one game over .500 for the season. The question becomes whether the team will be sellers at the non-waivers trading deadline of July 31st, as expected when the season started, or if they will be buyers. Currently trialing their division leader by 7.5 games and four others teams for the Wild card, the answer definitely leans toward the later.

A quick look at the team's statistics backs this up. While leading the majors in runs scored, the pitching staff ranks 29th in ERA. This does not bode well for a run to leap four teams for the wild card or to catch the pitching-rich Angels. The Rangers also rank last in team errors and 29th overall in fielding percentage. Poor pitching and poor defense cannot be overcome be great hitting.

I guess that sums up what the Rangers can target on the trade market, doesn't it? The next question is what the team can offer to get better on the mound and on defense. Here is a list of the team's free agents this coming winter (2009) and next winter (2010).

2009 SP Jason Jennings TEX
2009 OF Milton Bradley TEX
2009 3B Hank Blalock TEX*
2010 OF Marlon Byrd TEX
2010 OF Frank Catalanotto TEX
2010 RP Joaquin Benoit TEX
2010 SP Vicente Padilla TEX*

* Option year. All data from Cots' Contracts.

Can Milton Bradley or Hank Blalock fetch that starting pitcher that right's the ship steered astray by the recent trades of Edinson Volquez, John Danks, and Armando Galaragga? FWIW, acquiring a great hitter like Josh Hamilton for a Cy Young candidate like Edinson Volquez does not work for a team desperate for pitching.

Whether either player can get the team moving in the right direction, the Rangers must do its best. Should the inclusion of OF Marlon Byrd necessitate a deal, then Byrd has to be included. Would the ability to control Frank Catalonotto get a deal done? If so, buh-bye Li'l Cat.

The bigger question is whether a management structure that could not evaluate its own pitching talent can be trusted to evaluate other team's pitching talent.