The Rangers traded Minor to the Athletics for two players to be named and $133,000 of international slot bonus money. But they held on to Lynn after listening to offers and interest from just about every club needing starting pitching.
Rangers get: 2 PTBN, cash
Athletics get: LHP Mike Minor
The Dodgers were among the most vigorous in their pursuit of Lynn, but no club offered enough for the Rangers to say yes. Part of it was many clubs aren’t able to take on salary while baseball is going through a turbulent economic period. And because of that, clubs are even more determined than ever to hold on to their top young prospects.
“The deal we were comfortable making was not there,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “A number of clubs offered us young players, but based on our evaluations, it wasn’t enough.”
Daniels said the Rangers went into the process knowing they had to be open about the possibility of trading Lynn. But they also view him as one of the best pitchers in the game, a strong influence on their younger pitchers and under contract for $8 million next season.
There was interest in other Rangers, including outfielder Joey Gallo. The Rays appeared to be most interested in an offensive upgrade. The Rangers listened to anything brought to them, but were not going to make a trade for anything less than what they perceived was full value.
“We are not good enough right now,” Daniels said. “That’s clear. We are just trying to improve. If the value had been there to make some of the deals we were trying to make, we would have moved some of these guys. It would have been painful, but it would have been for the right reasons. We weren’t going to force it.”
Daniels said the Rangers could re-visit these deals in the winter. He also left open the possibility of a contract extension for Lynn that could keep him with the Rangers beyond next season.
“Listen, if there was an overwhelming deal out there, we probably would have made it,” Daniels said. “But ... I would not have been proud of some of those deals if we made them, and I don't think our fans would have been happy about it, either.”
The Rangers felt they got the right offer for Minor, who is 0-5 with a 5.60 ERA in seven starts, but threw six scoreless innings in his last start against the Dodgers.
A source said the two players will be outfielder Marcus Smith and infielder Dustin Harris. Both were 2019 Draft picks who have not played this season because of the Minor League shutdown.
Daniels did not comment directly on the two players, but said: “One of whom we knew very, very well in the Draft process and scouted, as well, last summer. The other ... we liked playing professionally last year. These are guys that we value I think higher than the industry does at this point. And I think that they will be valued more in line with how we see them, as we go forward.”
Smith, ranked as the No. 22 prospect in the Athletics system by MLB Pipeline, was a third-round pick last season out of Kansas City Pembroke High and spent last season in the Arizona Rookie League. In 29 games, he hit .361/.466/.443.
Harris was an 11th-round pick out of St. Petersburg College who split time between Arizona and Class A Vermont in the New York-Penn League, hitting .325/.403/.407. He is a corner infielder who can also play the outfield.
Minor’s spot could go to rookie right-hander Kyle Cody, who has pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings over three relief appearances. He has allowed one hit, three walks and six strikeouts. He threw 39 pitches in his last outing against the Dodgers on Saturday, so he could give the Rangers 3-4 innings in his first start and build up from there.
Minor ranks as one of the best free-agent signings by Daniels over his 15 years as Rangers general manager. He was 14-10 with a 3.59 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP for the Rangers last season and 12-8 with a 4.18 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 2018.
Minor pitched for the Braves as a starter in 2010-14 before missing two years while recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. The Royals used him as a reliever in 2017 and most clubs pursued him for that role when he became a free agent.
The Rangers signed him to a three-year deal with the promise of getting a chance to start again and Minor developed into a front-line starter. He also took an active role in mentoring some of the Rangers' younger pitchers, including left-handers Kolby Allard, Brock Burke, Joe Palumbo and Brett Martin.