Yankees, Braves may be best suitors for Minor

July 24th, 2019

SEATTLE – There is no guarantee that the Rangers are going to trade pitcher before the July 31 Trade Deadline, even though all the usual scouts were on hand to watch him pitch against the Mariners on Wednesday. Minor allowed five runs (four earned) over six innings in Texas' 5-3 loss.

But the Yankees, Braves, Phillies, Brewers and Astros appear to be the clubs most interested in acquiring starting pitching at the Deadline. According to industry sources, the Braves and the Yankees are the two teams who are best stocked to give the Rangers what they would want in return for Minor.

The Braves have some of the best young pitching in their farm system among “buyer” teams in contention. Right-handers Kyle Wright, Ian Anderson and Bryse Wilson are three of Atlanta's top five prospects, according to MLB Pipeline. Anderson, who is at Double-A Mississippi, is highly regarded by talent evaluators.

The Rangers would prefer to acquire pitching for Minor, and the Yankees' most attractive pitching prospect is Double-A right-hander Deivi Garcia. The Yanks also have outfielder Clint Frazier, a right-handed bat that the Rangers like but is blocked at the Major League level by Aaron Judge. The Rangers want pitching, but Frazier could be the right-handed bat that helps balance out their left-handed-heavy lineup.

The Astros' two best young pitchers – right-handers Forrest Whitley and Corbin Martin – are both dealing with injuries. The Brewers and the Phillies have the position player prospects, but not the quality of young pitching of the Braves. That doesn’t leave them or other unidentified clubs out of the picture.

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This will likely go right up to the Deadline. Minor is signed at $9.5 million for next season, and there is strong sentiment within the organization to keep him unless another organization is willing to overwhelm the Rangers with an offer. The Rangers realize that if they trade Minor, they will be back to scrambling for quality starting pitching in the offseason.

General manager Jon Daniels' position is the club has to consider “everything” at this point.

The Rangers are in a much better position with Minor than they were a year ago with Cole Hamels, who failed to command a significant return from the Cubs. This time, Texas can afford to hold out for the right offer and stand pat if it’s not there. Both the Yankees and the Braves are understandably reluctant to give up their best young pitching prospects, whether it’s for Minor, Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman or Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner.

The Rangers have other players who could be of interest at the Deadline, including designated hitter Hunter Pence and relievers Chris Martin and Jose Leclerc. The Rangers received more value in their trades for relievers Jake Diekman and Keone Kela last July than they did with Hamels.

But the biggest mystery surrounds Minor, and whether the Rangers are able to get the right offer in return before next Wednesday. He is now 0-2 with a 6.04 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP in his last four starts.

Rangers beat

• Manager Chris Woodward said the Rangers are undecided on a starter for Sunday. Woodward liked what he saw from right-hander Pedro Payano on Tuesday, when he held the Mariners to one run in five innings. But left-hander Joe Palumbo is also a possibility.

• Shin-Soo Choo’s first-inning leadoff home run on Tuesday night was the 33rd of his career, tying him with Hall of Famer Paul Molitor for 13th most all-time. He has 22 of those with the Rangers, second most in club history behind Ian Kinsler, who had 29.

• Right-hander Edinson Volquez, who has been on the injured list since April 5 with a sprained right elbow, threw a bullpen session on Tuesday in Arizona. It was his fifth since being sent to Arizona, and he is expected to join the Rangers in Oakland so the Major League staff can assess his progress.