As the Rangers have fallen in the standings this month, the chances of a Mike Minor trade are on the rise.
The Rangers are increasingly open-minded about moving Minor prior to the July 31 Trade Deadline, sources told MLB.com Wednesday. Texas has lost three straight games and could drop into fourth place in the American League West with a loss to the D-backs on Wednesday night.
The Phillies and Brewers are among the teams showing interest in Minor, who has widespread appeal to Deadline buyers because he’s under contract through 2020.
Minor, 31, has emerged as the Rangers’ unquestioned ace this season, and he leads all American League pitchers in Wins Above Replacement (WAR), according to Baseball Reference. Minor’s 2.73 ERA ranks second behind Tampa Bay’s Charlie Morton among AL starters.
The Rangers were within 4 1/2 games of the AL West-leading Astros as recently as the end of play on June 28. Since then, Texas is 4-9 and has been leapfrogged by Oakland for second place in the division.
The Rangers will move into Globe Life Field next year, and the organization recognizes the value of competing for a 2019 playoff berth as a way of creating momentum for the first season in its new home. However, a trade of Minor at peak value would be expected to pay off with an improved on-field product for the Rangers in 2021 and beyond, when postseason appearances will need to replace the allure of a first-year ballpark as the franchise’s main draw.