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Texas closes busy Meetings with Claudio trade

Rangers gain Competitive Balance pick, make splash with Wisdom, Lynn
December 13, 2018

LAS VEGAS -- The Rangers made a potential impact move for the future when they traded pitcher Alex Claudio to the Brewers for their Competitive Balance Round A Draft pick.The Rangers are expecting to draft a top prospect with the pick. The Competitive Balance Round A takes place immediately after

LAS VEGAS -- The Rangers made a potential impact move for the future when they traded pitcher Alex Claudio to the Brewers for their Competitive Balance Round A Draft pick.
The Rangers are expecting to draft a top prospect with the pick. The Competitive Balance Round A takes place immediately after the first round and certain compensation selections of the Major League Baseball Draft.
Right now, it would be the 40th overall pick but could drop to 41 if the D-backs get compensation for free-agent outfielder A.J. Pollock. The D-backs would get a compensation pick if Pollock signs for more than $50 million.
Either way, the pick could still be a significant acquisition. The Rangers took Joey Gallo with the 39th overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft.
"It is hard to acquire premium young talent," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "The opportunity provided by that Draft pick is pretty significant. Obviously, you have a chance to take one of the top players in the country. I love Alex. He has been a great pitcher for us … but you couldn't acquire a prospect at the level we'll hopefully be able to select in the Draft there. The chance to obtain high-end talent made too much sense for us."
Claudio was the Rangers' Pitcher of the Year in 2017 when he went 4-2 with a 2.50 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. That production slipped this past season when he went 4-2 with a 4.48 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP in 66 games. But that didn't deter the Brewers' interest.

"Claudio is a pitcher that we've had our eye on for some time," Brewers general manager David Stearns said. "He's been one of the more consistent and durable left-handed pitchers in baseball over the past couple of years. He still has plenty of team control remaining, and so it was a logical fit.
"He's a guy who puts a ton of balls on the ground. He has huge ground-ball rates. And every now and then, you have years when you're a ground-ball pitcher that the ground balls find holes. That's what happened to him last year."
The trade was the fourth significant move for the Rangers at the Winter Meetings. On Wednesday, they reached an agreement with free-agent pitcher Lance Lynn on a three-year, $30 million contract, according to sources, although the deal is still pending a physical.
Earlier in the Meetings, the Rangers claimed infielder Carlos Asuaje off waivers from the Padres and acquired third baseman Patrick Wisdom from the Cardinals in exchange for utility player Drew Robinson.

Biggest remaining needs
1. Starting pitching: Lynn was a good start for the Rangers, but they still need more rotation help. Right now, Texas' rotation is Mike Minor, Lynn, Edinson Volquez, Drew Smyly and either Yohander Mendez or Ariel Jurado. There is still plenty of starting pitching left on the free-agent market, and the Rangers are still looking to trade for young controllable pitchers.
2. Relief pitching: The Rangers have added Jesse Chavez this winter, but they still need more relief help behind closer Jose Leclerc, especially after trading Claudio. Left-hander Jake Diekman is still out there so a reunion between him and the Rangers could make sense.
3. Bench depth: The Rangers appear set in the starting lineup unless a big trade comes down. But they could still use more catching depth and a utility infielder.
Rule 5 Draft
The Rangers gained a reliever when they acquired pitcher Jordan Romano through the White Sox from the Blue Jays. He has been a starter in the Blue Jays' system, but the Rangers will use him in relief. But Texas lost hard-throwing right-hander Reed Garrett, when he was selected by the Tigers.
In the Minor League phase, the Rangers selected right-handed pitcher Jeffeson Medina from the Orioles. The Cardinals took right-hander John Fasola out of the Rangers' system.
GM's bottom line
"We have had conversations at a level where things could move," said Daniels. "Everybody is juggling a lot of options. We were able to accomplish a few things, and the groundwork has been laid for other moves. What the timing is, I don't know. There will be more movement."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.