The Rangers have always been a team to watch for midsummer trades, whether they're to upgrade the club while pursuing a division title or trying to rebuild by plucking prospects from other organizations.
General manager Jon Daniels loves to wheel and deal in July, and two of his trades are among the gold standard by which all non-waiver Trade Deadline deals are measured. Sellers look to duplicate his 2007 deal, and buyers hope to get a player who has the same impact as the one Daniels landed in '10.
1. July 31, 2007: The Rangers received shortstop Elvis Andrus, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and pitchers Matt Harrison, Neftali Feliz and Beau Jones from Atlanta in exchange for first baseman Mark Teixeira and pitcher Ron Mahay.
This trade provided the foundation for Texas' rebuilding program and may have been the most important move in putting together two American League pennant-winning teams. Andrus, Feliz and Harrison have all been to the All-Star Game since the trade.
2. July 9, 2010: The Rangers received pitchers Cliff Lee and Mark Lowe from the Mariners for pitchers Blake Beavan and Josh Lueke, infielder Matt Lawson and first baseman Justin Smoak.
Lee wasn't all that great for Texas immediately after the deal. He went 4-6 with a 3.98 ERA in 15 starts down the stretch. But in the playoffs, Lee was outstanding, beating the Rays twice in the AL Divison Series and the Yankees in Game 3 of the AL Championship Series. He wasn't quite as stellar in the World Series, but the Rangers wouldn't have made it that far without him.
3. July 19, 2000: Texas received infielder Michael Young and pitcher Darwin Cubillan from Toronto in exchange for pitcher Esteban Loaiza.
The Rangers were way out of the playoff race by mid-July, but that wasn't the reason for the trade. Manager Johnny Oates had become fed up with Loaiza and gave general manager Doug Melvin a "him or me" ultimatum. Young was a Double-A infielder at the time and not on any lists of top prospects. But he ended up breaking almost every career club hitting record during his memorable 12-year stay in Texas.
4. Aug. 8, 1996: The Rangers received pitcher John Burkett from the Marlins for pitchers Rick Helling and Ryan Dempster.
Texas was leading the AL West and trying to make the playoffs for the first time in club history. Burkett proved to be a crucial piece, joining Ken Hill at the front of the Rangers' rotation. They had lost five straight and nine of 10 when he beat the Angels, 7-1, on Sept. 21. That victory and one by Hill the next day were two of the biggest wins in franchise history until the World Series runs in 2010-11.
Incidentally, Texas reacquired Helling in 1997 for reliever Ed Vosberg. That turned out to be another huge trade for the Rangers, as Helling helped them win two more division titles in 1998-99.
5. July 28, 2006: The Rangers received outfielders Carlos Lee and Nelson Cruz from the Brewers for pitchers Francisco Cordero and Julian Cordero, and outfielders Kevin Mench and Laynce Nix.
Lee was Texas' target in this deal, as the club tried to upgrade its offense for the final two months. Cruz was secondary, but Daniels likes to have a second player in any big deal like this. Cruz took a couple of years to get going, but his All-Star bat has been huge for the Rangers the past four years. This deal edges out acquiring David Murphy from the Red Sox in the 2007 Eric Gagne trade for the No. 5 spot on the list.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger.