You just saw how bad the Texas Rangers are. Woof!
They sit at the bottom of the AL West, 20 games back of the division-leading Houston Astros. The Rangers have a record of 35-58 and need to sell off pieces.
Despite struggling in recent years, analysts have not been too high on the Rangers farm system. Heading into this season, MLB.com rated them the 21st prospect pool in the entire league. One specific player on the Rangers should net them a huge return, and I desperately want the Blue Jays to inquire. The Rangers should also have an effective closer and ace available.
Here are some players who fill the Blue Jays’ needs….
The Rangers’ closer this season is expected to hit free agency at season’s end and could be an affordable late-inning option for the Blue Jays. He has spent this season on a minor league deal, so the organization would not be taking on much salary at all.
Ian Kennedy has been as reliable as they come this season, locking down 15 saves on 16 attempts. Through 30.1 innings, he has a respectable 2.67 ERA with a slightly alarming 3.90 FIP. Based on his FIP, he has been lucky and is likely in for a rougher second half. Despite the luck, he still has some other valuable peripherals. He is walking batters at a career-low rate, surrendering 2.1 BB/9. Furthermore, he is striking batters out at an effective pace as well, sitting with a solid 9.5 K/9. Although his FIP proves he has been lucky to have surrendered fewer hits, his H/9 is only 7.4.
Even though Ian Kennedy has only allowed five long balls on the season, his flyball percentage raises legitimate concerns. His FB% is at a career-high 38%, again proving he has been quite lucky. He pitches in a new stadium, where the dimensions are large, and the ball does not carry well. If he were to be traded to the Blue Jays, he may not be so lucky in the unfriendly confines of Rogers Centre or in Buffalo.
The ace of the Texas Rangers in 2021, Kyle Gibson has another year of control beyond this season. He is set to become a free agent in 2023 when he completes his 3-year deal worth $28M.
The Rangers will likely be asking for a lot, as Gibson is coming off of his first All-star game of his career. He is leading the AL with an ERA of 2.29, but like Kennedy, his FIP proves that number has been slightly lucky. His FIP currently floats at 3.47, a -1.18 differential. Gibson has always had modest K/9 and is known for generating weak contact. His K/9 is a decent 7.8, but his BB/9 is a sparkling 2.7. He rarely gets hit as well, as his H/9 is 6.9. Kyle Gibson fits the Blue Jays perfectly in my eyes because of his high groundball percentage. His GB% is 51.1% and he has always managed to keep the ball down. This will be effective in a hitter’s ballpark like Rogers Centre.
Unlike Ian Kennedy, I expect the asking price for the Rangers’ ace to be lofty. He has been excellent this season and has some control within his contract.
Now for the player that everyone wants to read or talk about — Joey Gallo.
Just like with Gibson, the asking price on Gallo will be massive because he is a controlled asset. He hits free agency in 2023 and is arbitration-eligible at the end of this season. He is on a 1-year deal worth $6.2M right now, but arbitration at the season’s end will increase his salary considerably.
Joey Gallo is a two-time All-star, including this season, and a gold glover. He would bring the Blue Jays gold glove defence, along with a left-handed bat that could help balance out the lineup better. Now, how does Gallo fit considering the talent in the Blue Jays outfield? In a dream scenario, the Rangers would take a right-handed batting outfielder like Randal Grichuk back as part of the deal (no disrespect intended Randal), but I would imagine the Rangers would want Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in return. Although I am a big fan of Gurriel Jr., it makes sense to pull the trigger on a deal with him as the headline. The Blue Jays made it clear they wanted left-handed batters to even out the lineup, and Gallo is a MASSIVE improvement defensively to Gurriel Jr.
Offensively, Gallo has been elite this season. Sure, he strikes out a lot, but so do most sluggers in baseball in 2021. He leads the AL in walks, with 72. His OBP this year is a ridiculous .398, to go along with a decent .237 batting average and absurd .516 slugging percentage. He was just in the Homerun Derby, so everyone knows he can mash. He has 24 home runs through only 354 plate appearances. Considering the lineup the Blue Jays have, he would also be pitched to more, which would lead to even more home runs and RBIs. Blue Jays fans, imagine a lineup like this…
Randal Grichuk/Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
Reese McGuire/Danny Jansen/AlejandroKirk
This lineup would even put the 2015 team to shame. That would put fear into any opposing pitcher in the AL.
Now, let’s talk about Joey Gallo’s elite outfield defence. He has strictly played rightfield for Texas this season, but he has a phenomenal 7 DRS through 657.2 innings. His UZR sits at 2.1, proving his elite defensive status. His WAR on the season, showing his true values to the team offensively and defensively, is 3.9.
To summarize, because of Gallo’s defence, offence, contract, and left-handed bat, he is the perfect impact bat for the Blue Jays to target. In a dream scenario, the Jays somehow grab Gallo and Gibson in a massive deal, because the two of them could potentially put the Blue Jays over the top.
All statistics found on Baseball Reference and Fangraphs.