ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have been getting trade interest in their relievers, and that was reinforced on Thursday night when they dealt veteran right-hander Jesse Chavez to the Cubs in exchange for Minor League left-hander Tyler Thomas.Thomas was a seventh-round pick by the Cubs out of Fresno State in the
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have been getting trade interest in their relievers, and that was reinforced on Thursday night when they dealt veteran right-hander Jesse Chavez to the Cubs in exchange for Minor League left-hander Tyler Thomas.
Thomas was a seventh-round pick by the Cubs out of Fresno State in the 2017 MLB Draft. He was 3-5 with a 2.88 ERA in 15 games (14 starts) at Class A South Bend in the Midwest League. He had a 0.96 WHIP with 81 strikeouts and 14 walks in 75 innings.
Thomas has a fastball that averages 89-90 mph with good deception and excellent control. He supplements it with a curveball and changeup. Thomas was assigned to Class A Hickory.
"Tyler can command three pitches, including a very good changeup," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "He's competitive, knows how to pitch and has had success at every stop. We liked him as an amateur and are happy to add him to our system now."
The bullpen has been a strength for the Rangers through the first half, led by closer Keone Kela and left-handed reliever Jake Diekman, and both could be of interest to clubs looking for relief help.
Chavez was also a major contributor, going 3-1 with a 3.51 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. He started out the season as a long reliever, but has been used in late-inning situations over the past month.
Most contending clubs figure to be seeking bullpen help during the current trade cycle. The Indians made the first move on Thursday, when they acquired left-hander Brad Hand and right-hander Adam Cimber from the Padres.
"I expect, industry-wise, more relievers will be traded," Daniels said. "The way the game is played today, everybody is looking for bullpen help all the time."
Daniels has immersed himself in the task of looking at all possibilities in improving the team.
"It's the same as every year, a lot of conversations, a lot of dialogues with clubs," Daniels said. "We're going through some different possibilities. You never know, we'll have a lot of conversations that ultimately won't lead to deals, but our goal is to flush a lot of things out and see what makes sense internally."
Left-handed starter Cole Hamels remains the Rangers' highest-profile trade candidate, and there are clubs actively looking to upgrade their rotation, including the Yankees, Mariners, Brewers and Phillies, among others.
There are multiple ways for clubs to view Hamels. He is a 13-year veteran with a long track record of success and a strong postseason resume. But he is also 5-8 with a 4.36 ERA in 19 starts this season, allowing 21 home runs in 109 1/3 innings. He is 1-2 with a 9.53 ERA over his last four starts.
Hamels' contract is also a factor. The lefty is making $23.5 million this year, which means a club could have to assume approximately $8 million in a trade. The Rangers would likely be willing to pick up part of that, depending on the quality of players in return, as they are more interested in acquiring talent than worrying about money.
The Rangers showed that earlier this month when they acquired outfielder Austin Jackson in a trade with the Giants, along with reliever Cory Gearrin and Minor League pitcher Jason Bahr. The Rangers released Jackson and assumed approximately $4 million in salary obligations so they could acquire the two pitchers.
The Rangers aren't getting much interest in veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon, who likely has three starts left before the Deadline. That could change before the end of the month, but Colon is 3-6 with a 6.31 ERA over his last 10 starts. He pitches on Saturday against the Indians.
Daniels said there are different types of trade discussions going on right now. Some involve the traditional buyer/seller deals that take place this time of the year. Other discussions are non-traditional and creative, such as the deal earlier this month with the Giants. The other area involves clubs who are strong in one area looking to shore up weaknesses in other spots.
That could mean the Rangers are looking to move relievers, and it also could involve infielder Jurickson Profar. Profar played well for two months at shortstop while Elvis Andrus was on the disabled list, but he is back to a utility role and could be attractive to clubs with a need at that position. The Orioles have shown interest in Profar in the past, and they just traded All-Star shortstop Manny Machado to the Dodgers.
"We have had the conversations you would expect," Daniels said. "There are conversations with clubs that make a lot of sense. You can line up the clubs that have needs that fit. But there are smaller trades, clubs not looking for front-line stars, but just looking to fill out their roster."
The Rangers aren't expected to trade veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre unless circumstances change drastically. They would prefer to keep Beltre for his leadership qualities and try to re-sign him for next season. Beltre has also indicated a willingness to return, and Daniels made it clear that the future Hall of Famer's value to the Rangers is above what they normally would consider in a trade situation.
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.