ARLINGTON -- The Rangers added two more young pitchers to their farm system when they traded reliever Cory Gearrin to the Athletics before Friday's Deadline to acquire players who will be eligible to join a postseason roster.The Rangers received right-handed pitchers Abdiel Mendoza and Teodoro Ortega in return. The Rangers
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers added two more young pitchers to their farm system when they traded reliever Cory Gearrin to the Athletics before Friday's Deadline to acquire players who will be eligible to join a postseason roster.
The Rangers received right-handed pitchers Abdiel Mendoza and Teodoro Ortega in return. The Rangers also called up right-hander Connor Sadzeck from Triple-A Round Rock to replace Gearrin in the bullpen.
The trade with the Athletics is a sequel to a deal made with the Giants on July 8 when they acquired Gearrin, outfielder Austin Jackson and Minor League pitcher Jason Bahr for a player to be named later.
The Rangers ended up releasing Jackson and eating approximately $4.5 million he was owed the remainder of this season and all of next year. By flipping Gearrin to the Athletics for Mendoza and Ortega, the Rangers ended up spending $4.5 million for three young pitchers.
"What we've tried to do here in the summer, adding two young arms that we like and can develop," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "They're quite a few years away, but they're really interesting. We've had pretty good reports from some of our better scouts. Looking back at the deal with San Francisco, for us to get a month and a half of quality performance out of Cory and now add three young starter arms to our system, it's pretty appealing."
Mendoza, who turns 20 on Sept. 19, has gone 2-3 with a 3.32 ERA over 13 games, including 10 starts with Class A Short Vermont in the New York-Penn League. The Panama native was signed by Oakland on July 2, 2015, and has held opposing batters to a .227 average over 38 games (17 starts) in his first three professional seasons.
Ortega, 18, was 3-1 with a 2.11 ERA over 14 games, including six starts, with the DSL Athletics this season. The Panama native signed with Oakland as a non-drafted free agent on July 31, 2017, and made his professional debut with the DSL Athletics this season.
"Mendoza's a little bit of an undersized right-hander, from a height standpoint, but can really spin and has a very good curveball and three pitches," Daniels said. "He'll throw harder. I don't think he's going to end up being a flamethrower, but he has three pitches and an advanced feel for two secondary [pitches]. Ortega, he's in the DSL. He's had success. We like him from a scouting perspective down there as well. We've had good reports."
Including the Giants deal, the Rangers have made five trades this summer. In those deals, they gave up pitchers Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, Keone Kela, Jesse Chavez and Gearrin, while receiving seven Minor League pitchers, two position players and Major League reliever Eddie Butler.
"There was an emphasis on the pitching side," Daniels said. "That being said, we've acquired some hitters and there are other deals where we would've acquired other hitters had they been available, so it wasn't exclusive on the pitching side. We're trying to both acquire guys with upside and also raise the floor of the system.
"I think when you look at the number of intriguing, projectable arms that we've added to the system, and then some of the other programs on the development side that we're putting in place, I think it bodes really well for our future."
Gearrin was 1-0 with a 2.53 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP in 21 appearances for the Rangers. He is arbitration eligible this winter and can be a free agent after next season. The Rangers liked what he did for their bullpen, but they were eager to add young pitching.
Because of caps on spending in the international free agent market and the MLB Draft, clubs have to be creative in the way they acquire talent.
"It's hard to acquire -- there are just limited avenues to acquire young talent," Daniels said. "You're capped in a lot of areas. To be able to acquire two guys that have already crossed a couple hurdles in their development, that's an opportunity that we don't get a lot, and it made sense for what we're trying to do."
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.