Rangers make big moves, acquiring Lucroy, Beltran

Texas also acquires Jeffress from Brewers; GM Daniels offers take on deals

August 1st, 2016

ARLINGTON -- General manager Jon Daniels isn't quite sure what the Rangers did Monday means they are "all in," as the expression goes.

But there is no doubt the Rangers are thinking well beyond just winning another division title by acquiring catcher and reliever from the Brewers and outfielder from the Yankees before Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"All in means you're pushing all your chips on the table and you have nothing left in your hand," Daniels said. "We still have a lot of young players on this team that are going to be here for a long time and a lot of good young players still in our system. Lucroy and Jeffress will be here beyond this year.

"I don't look at it as 'all in,' but the front office and ownership believes in this team and recognized this is the opportunity to back that up and make the club better. We're excited to watch this team."

Daniels also recognized the Rangers did not achieve their goal of adding starting pitching, but still hope and can handle the back end of the rotation at least until and come off the disabled list at the end of August.

"We did look at a number of starting pitchers, but the fit wasn't there," Daniels said. "We audibled a little bit and looked to improve the club as best we could."

The Rangers, who had a six-game lead in the American League West when the deals went down, acquired Lucroy and Jeffress for Minor League outfielder Lewis Brinson, pitcher Luis Ortiz and a player to be named later.

They picked up Beltran from the Yankees for Minor League pitchers Dillon Tate, Nick Green and Erik Swanson. The Rangers and the Yankees are splitting the approximately $5 million left on Beltran's contract the rest of the year and he is a free agent after the season.

Lucroy, 30, becomes the Rangers' No. 1 catcher and is signed through 2017. A two-time All-Star, he is hitting .299 with 13 home runs, 50 RBIs and a .482 slugging percentage.

The Rangers were able to acquire Lucroy only after he turned down a trade to the Indians on Sunday. The Rangers were not on his partial no-trade list.

"Look, the way all that went down [Sunday], that's all in the past," Lucroy said. "It's all out there. Everyone knows why I declined it. Like I said, the Rangers were a team I was really hoping for, and it ended up working out. I'm very thankful and grateful to the Rangers for giving me a chance."

Lucroy, who is from Louisiana, said the Rangers were the "best-case scenario" for him and his family.

"It's like a shot in the arm," he said. "It's an energy boost. It's really cool. New team; new, fresh feeling. It's going to be a lot of fun. I can't wait to join the hunt with them."

Jeffress was the Brewers' closer this season, with 27 saves and a 2.22 ERA. He also has a 1.25 WHIP, with 7.1 strikeouts per nine innings.

Beltran will likely be the Rangers' designated hitter down the stretch, but will also share right field with . He makes up for the loss of , who is out for the season after having neck surgery.

Choo is expected to come off the disabled list Thursday.

"The feeling is that I've got to go there and help. Help as much as I can," Beltran said. "They get me because they think I can contribute and they think I can help the team continue to win ballgames.

"It's fun, honestly. I mean I've been in these type of situations before where you play on a team that is in first place and you know, every game that you play is a meaningful game and you try to continue to win ballgames and increase that lead, so that's the job."

Beltran, 39, is hitting .304 with 22 home runs, 64 RBIs and a .546 slugging percentage in 99 games with the Yankees. The switch-hitter has a career .332 average with a .674 slugging percentage in the postseason.

 "I can't think of too many hitters who fit better than Carlos right now," Daniels said. "These kind of players are difference-makers down the stretch. He was a target for us all along. We weren't on too many position players besides Lucroy but he is an impact bat."

The Rangers still had to give up Tate, who was the fourth overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft.

"You get what you pay for," Daniels said. "We got the best bat available and gave up a good player for it. We didn't want to give up Dillon Tate, but we are happy with the deal."

Brinson and Ortiz were both former No. 1 picks by the Rangers, and they were ranked Nos. 2 and 3 on the team's Top 30 Prospects list. Brinson played in 77 games at Double-A Frisco, hitting .237 with 11 home runs and 40 RBIs. Ortiz was 1-4 with a 4.08 ERA in nine games at Frisco.

But the Rangers were able to make two impact trades without giving up infielders and , two players who seemed to be the most in demand by other clubs.

"We feel like we definitely improved our club and we kept a number of young players we liked," Daniels said. "We also gave up a number of young guys with bright futures. I'm confident we still have a lot of talent in the organization, but I don't want to diminish what we gave up. We gave up a lot of talent."

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)

As the missing piece to an otherwise loaded Rangers lineup, Lucroy is poised to join as one of the two most productive catchers in baseball during the stretch run. The 30-year-old Lucroy should post a high batting average and plentiful counting stats from the middle of Texas' order. On the pitching side, Jeffress may be on the verge of taking his 27 saves to the waiver wire in mixed leagues. The right-hander is having a fine season, but the Rangers have received solid work from closer . (lifetime 2.99 ERA) will likely slide into the closer's role in Milwaukee, and he has the skills to make an impact in mixed leagues right away.