It’s time for another Rangers inbox, where I answer a few of your questions about the team’s present and future. Thank you to everyone who submitted questions!
I'll ask the obvious ones: who are your ideal trade targets and who are your realistic targets? -- @TheReverendJim on Twitter
All of my non-Shohei Ohtani (who I do not think the Angels will trade) ideal targets are in the American League Central at this point, specifically in the White Sox Lucas Giolito and the Tigers’ Eduardo Rodriguez (if/when he’s healthy). I think Shane Bieber could also be a realistic possibility.
Bieber’s velocity is way down this season, and his strikeouts are down as well, but he’s been able to reinvent himself to produce a 3.51 ERA over 15 starts so far. Giolito has been steady as ever with a 3.54 ERA over 15 starts, and Rodriguez was having a great season before landing on the IL with a finger injury on May 30.
Giolito’s rotation mates Dylan Cease and Lance Lynn could also be on the trade block, but neither is having a great season, and it's unclear how deep into a tear-it-all down rebuild the White Sox will be willing to go as it pertains to Cease, who was runner-up in AL Cy Young Award voting in 2022.
With how the AL Central is playing out this season, there’s no telling who will actually be selling come Deadline time.
Who are the best available bullpen pieces? -- @CedarPollen
Just more AL Central coming at you here.
The Kansas City duo of Scott Barlow and Aroldis Chapman are sure to be available, and Chicago’s duo of Kendall Graveman and Joe Kelly and Detroit’s duo of Alex Lange and Jason Foley could all be available depending on the outlook of the division come Deadline time.
Chapman and Kelly are free agents at the end of this season, Barlow and Graveman won’t become free agents until after 2024 and the two Tigers are under team control through 2027. There are options for the Rangers, both controllable and rental wise, to upgrade the bullpen.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand went into all potential relief options at the Deadline this year here.
Interested in their prospect depth that is aging and ready to contribute at the Major League level ... how do they plan to leverage Ornelas, Foscue, Wendzel, JP Martinez, etc. who are all blocked in the system? Need to get creative and have urgency at deadline … -- @DoughMillerDFW on Twitter
No doubt the most obvious answer at the Deadline will be for Texas to dip into that middle infield depth they have in the farm and add some pitching.
Justin Foscue (Rangers’ No. 6 prospect), Jonathan Ornelas (No. 17) and Davis Wendzel (NR) are all middle infielders in Triple-A who are blocked by Corey Seager and Marcus Semien at the big league level, and are even blocked by Ezequiel Duran and Josh H. Smith coming off the bench for the time being.
Outfielder J.P. Martinez -- who is slashing .322/.455/.496 with Triple-A Round Rock this season -- is in a slightly different situation with the Rangers’ outfield steady, but not nearly in the same way as the infield.
The front office knows the Rangers need pitchers. The front office is also well aware of the infield situation. I would not be shocked at all to see the club part ways with some of these prospects for immediate help at the Deadline.
Who do you think will likely be drafted by the Rangers? -- @AkashP0207 on Twitter
Assuming the LSU duo of Dylan Crews and Paul Skenes go No. 1 and 2 like we all expect, the Rangers will have at least one of University of Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford and prep outfielders Max Clark and Walker Jenkins to choose from at No. 4 overall. The three are ranked No. 3-5 in MLB Pipeline’s Draft Top 200 and could go in any order depending on the club’s wants or needs.
Last year, the Rangers went under slot in the first round, when they selected Kumar Rocker, in order to take Brock Porter in the fourth round. I doubt there will be another opportunity quite like that this year. I would expect the Rangers to make the obvious choice and pick one of those three outfielders -- the best available -- come Draft night.
What is your favorite Taylor song and which Ranger would be the biggest Taylor fan? -- @paige_leckie on Twitter
Which Ranger best portrays Taylor Swift’s Cruel Summer? -- @corydtweets on Twitter
Any Taylor Swift question as it pertains to the Rangers will always be answered with noted Swiftie Josh Smith, whose favorite song is ironically “Cruel Summer,” per the Rangers’ TikTok page.
My favorite song is probably “False God” or “Illicit Affairs,” but it’s hard to choose.