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Rangers add prospects for Kela, Diekman

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

PHOENIX -- The Rangers accomplished their goals leading up to the non-waiver Trade Deadline, general manager Jon Daniels said.

The mission was to infuse the farm system with as much young talent as possible and the Rangers felt they did that with the five trades they made in July. The trade flurry ended with relievers Keone Kela being traded to the Pirates late Monday night and Jake Diekman going to the D-backs on Tuesday.

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PHOENIX -- The Rangers accomplished their goals leading up to the non-waiver Trade Deadline, general manager Jon Daniels said.

The mission was to infuse the farm system with as much young talent as possible and the Rangers felt they did that with the five trades they made in July. The trade flurry ended with relievers Keone Kela being traded to the Pirates late Monday night and Jake Diekman going to the D-backs on Tuesday.

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When it was all over, the Rangers added five young pitchers to their system, two more arms to the Major League bullpen in right-handers Cory Gearrin and Eddie Butler and have three players to be named later to identify. The Rangers are optimistic those three players will have significant value as well.

Video: Jon Daniels discusses trading Keone Kela to Pirates

"We prefer to be on the other side of these deals, but all in all, given what our goals were and the circumstances, we're really happy with it," Daniels said. "Our people did a ton of work, identified some players that we feel fit for us on a variety of levels.

"There were some real quality position players that we tried to get, so it wasn't exclusively pitching by any stretch, but that was a target for us. Really happy with the work that our scouts, our analysts, our front-office group put in to put us in position to do that."

For Kela, the Rangers acquired Double-A left-handed starter Taylor Hearn. He was 3-6 with a 3.12 ERA in 19 starts at Altoona in the Eastern League, while averaging 6.5 hits, 3.3 walks and 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings. The deal also involved a player to be named.

"Big, physical, intelligent left-hander with really competitive makeup," Daniels said. "Throws three pitches for strikes, two of which we put plus grades on. Breaking ball has improved, can still improve, but there's a lot of pitchers starting in the big leagues with lesser ability."

Hearn picks up his 9th K

The Rangers added a reliever for Diekman, getting right-hander Wei-Chieh Huang and a player to be named from the D-backs. Huang, 24, has split time between Class A Advanced Visalia and Double-A Jackson, appearing in 29 games with a record of 6-2 and a 2.31 ERA. He is averaging 12 strikeouts, 5.7 hits and 3.5 walks per nine innings.

"He's kind of an undersized right-handed pitcher," Daniels said. "He has started in the past -- from Taiwan, really good control, fastball in the low 90s. Good curveball, but his primary out pitch is a split. Gets a ton of swing and miss. He's a guy that our scouts have always liked, back to his days as an amateur."

Hearn, 23, and Huang go into a farm system that added Class A right-hander Jason Bahr from the Giants, and left-hander Tyler Thomas and right-hander Rollie Lacy in trades from the Cubs over the past month.

"There were a few guys that were real target guys for us," Daniels said. "Some guys with really good arms, some guys that really profile as starters. Obviously, we're in better position today, long term, than we were yesterday, and that was the goal."

In the short-term, the Rangers will have to rework their bullpen with the departure of Diekman and Kela. Right-hander Chris Martin was activated off the disabled and left-hander Jeffrey Spring was called up from Triple A Round Rock.

Tweet from @Rangers: Thank you, Keone. Best of luck in Pittsburgh. pic.twitter.com/QaBhLmIKhH

The Rangers have not identified their closer. Right-hander Jose Leclerc has been the Rangers' best reliever this season but has no experience at closing. Left-hander Alex Claudio did it last year before moving back to middle relief, and Martin was used as a closer two years ago in Japan. Gearrin is another possibility, manager Jeff Banister said.

"I am not going to name a closer," Banister said. "We've got guys who can close a game out. I'm sure there will be talk about Leclerc but Claudio has closed games out, Chris Martin is experienced in closing games out. I don't think it's advantageous to name one at this point."

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.

Texas Rangers, Jake Diekman, Keone Kela