What's next for Rangers ahead of Deadline?

July 29th, 2021

The Rangers dealt Joey Gallo to the Yankees, which was far and away the biggest splash of the week so far, but they’re far from finished making and discussing Trade Deadline deals.

When he spoke to the media on Thursday, president of baseball operations Jon Daniels said the Rangers are still in talks for other deals, though he wouldn’t go into further detail. There are just over 24 hours left until the July 30 Deadline, so what does Texas have left to do?

"We are very open to other teams," Daniels said. "We're willing to make trades that are going to help us in the long term, but the value has got to be there. We're not looking to give anybody away by any stretch, but there's a good value deal we're exploring."

Who’s likely to go next?
This seems fairly obvious, but Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy are both likely on the trade block come Friday. Both are veteran pitchers who have little use on the fully rebuilding Rangers roster at this point in the season.

Gibson is in the midst of his first All-Star season, posting a 2.87 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP over 19 starts. He also leads Texas' pitching staff with 94 strikeouts. Kennedy is having a resurgent season following a rough 2020. As the Rangers’ closer, he’s notched 16 saves with a 2.51 ERA on the season.

Both would be valuable assets for any contending team.

Veteran infielders Charlie Culberson and Brock Holt could also be shipped off if a contending team needs bats off the bench, but both are less likely and less valuable than the two pitchers. In that same vein, their veteran presence is probably more valuable in the youthful Rangers clubhouse right now, especially if and when Gibson is traded.

What sort of return might they be looking for?
I would assume the Rangers are waiting for the first domino to fall for starting pitchers -- hello Max Scherzer -- before dealing Gibson. The package will be nowhere near as substantial as the Gallo return, but Scherzer will no doubt set the market.

Kennedy will get less in return than Gibson, likely a prospect outside of MLB Pipeline's Top 30 who a contending team doesn’t have a ton of use for at the moment.

These last few deals will likely come down to the wire for the Rangers.

Any organizational holes they may try to fill?
In the present, Texas needs mid-tier, big league-caliber arms that will eat innings. If and when Gibson is dealt, the Rangers will be light on reliable starters, especially if Mike Foltynewicz and Jordan Lyles continue to struggle. With a solid rotation at Double-A Frisco, led by No. 3 prospect Cole Winn, the club needs pitchers to bridge the gap until that group is ready for the big leagues.

The big league club could also use a bat or two with Gallo gone. The Rangers have struggled mightily since returning from the All-Star break and have been outscored 75-22 in 12 games.

In the long term, the Rangers desperately need more pitching depth in the organization, despite Frisco’s success. Of the club's Top 30 prospects, 12 are pitchers. Of those 12, two are currently with the big league club, five are with Frisco and just one is with Triple-A Round Rock. There’s less depth on the lower end of the organization totem pole.

Adding right-hander Glenn Otto in the Gallo deal was perfect for where the organization is right now as he heads off to Round Rock, but I would assume the Rangers dig for some more arms that are closer to big league ready.

After the Gallo trade, the Rangers added three infield prospects to the club’s Top 30 -- No. 7 Josh Smith, No. 8 Ezequiel Duran and No. 19 Trevor Hauver -- though they were already ripe with infield talent throughout the farm. Infield prospects are likely last on the list in terms of organizational fills.