The Rangers seem to have little inclination to trade right-hander Lance Lynn. He is their best pitcher, he is a team leader and he is signed for next season.
Texas may be falling out of contention, but club officials have indicated there are no plans to tear the roster down and start over. The aim is to have Lynn at the head of the rotation next season.
But with the Trade Deadline a week from Monday, rumors are going to fly, and Lynn is clearly a pitcher who would be coveted by other clubs. The right-hander has been through this before, having been sent from the Twins to the Yankees on July 30, 2018, and his name is already part of the internet rumor mill.
“It is definitely part of the business,” Lynn said. “You have zero control over it unless you have a no-trade clause. If you get caught up in all the expert inside sources and all the other stuff nobody knows where it comes from, it will eat you up a little bit. If I find there is not a name behind that source, there is no point listening to it.”
Manager Chris Woodward made it clear the Rangers have to consider all their options. Texas is facing a tough homestand this week with seven games against the first-place Athletics and the Dodgers. How the Rangers do this week could determine general manager Jon Daniels' approach to the Trade Deadline.
“There's a lot of obviously internal conversations,” Woodward said. “Now with JD and I and his staff -- and just figuring out where we kind of sit right now. I don't know what's going to happen, obviously, before that final day of August."
The Dodgers could be a prime landing spot. They have the best record in baseball and could use a veteran starter to help stabilize a young rotation. They were aggressive in landing Yu Darvish from the Rangers at the 2017 Trade Deadline. Oakland -- another prime contender -- could also use a starter to upgrade their rotation.
“I know there'll be some action to be talked about. A lot of different things and our record may or may not determine what we do, or what we don't do so either way,” Woodward said. “We may add or subtract. I don't know what we're going to do. But I'm always excited about the prospects of the future. We’ve just got to start playing better baseball, that's all.”
Lynn, who is 3-0 with a 1.37 ERA in six starts, will start against the Athletics on Monday and the Dodgers on Saturday. Those will be his final two starts before the Deadline.
“I try to keep it as simple as this: When I'm here, I'm going to do every thing I can to help the team win no matter what,” Lynn said. “When it comes to all the stuff in this game, that's part of it, but these are my dudes on this team, and that's the only thing that matters to me.”
Chirinos ready to be activated
The Rangers are expecting catcher Robinson Chirinos to be activated off the injured list as early as Monday, when they begin a seven-game homestand vs. Oakland. He has been sidelined with a sprained left ankle.
“He should be, as far as I know, pretty much activated as soon as we get home,” Woodward said. “I don't know if it's the first day or second day, but he's pretty much 100 percent right now.”
Mathis has clearly moved behind both Chirinos and Trevino in the depth chart, and the Rangers have not kept three catchers since the active roster was reduced from 30 to 28 players. In Sunday's loss to the Mariners, though, Mathis laced his first homer of the season to prevent a shutout.
“We're thinking about all options, honestly. Definitely thinking about three catchers because we value all three of those guys,” Woodward said before the loss. “We definitely value Mathis, and Jose is one of our hottest hitters and one of our best players. It's a tough decision at the end of the day, but if we have to keep three, we’ll keep three.”
• Texas is listing left-hander Kolby Allard and right-hander Jordan Lyles as its starters for Wednesday and Thursday against the Athletics, respectively. But Woodward said the Rangers are considering using an “opener” in those games -- employing a reliever to start and pitch an inning or two ahead of either Allard or Lyles. Right-hander Ian Gibaut is a candidate to start ahead of Allard.
• Nick Goody, sidelined with lower back spasms, should be ready to be activated this week, and Woodward said the right-hander is another candidate to be used as an opener.
• Infielder Yonny Hernandez has been added to the 60-man player pool and was assigned to the alternate training site.