Rangers News and Notes Week 15

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, July 18th, 2015

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Texas Rangers
The American League All-Star team secured home field advantage for the A.L. Champion in this fall’s World Series with a 6-3 win over their National League counterparts.
Prince Fielder pinch hit in the fifth inning against the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and delivered a key hit.  He singled off the tough left hander – a line drive to left field – to drive in a run and break a 1-1 tie.  The A.L. never again trailed in the game.  Fielder also knocked home another run in the seventh inning with a sacrifice fly.
In Monday night’s Home Run Derby, Fielder hit 13 home runs in the first round, but lost to eventual winner, Todd Frazier of the hometown Cincinnati Reds in the first round.  He did set a new career record for most home runs in the Derby with 81.
The non-waiver trade deadline was exactly two weeks away when the Rangers resumed play Friday night in Houston.  They went into the weekend with a record four games under .500 after winning just one game in the eight game home stand that immediately preceded the All-Star break.  The offense is the culprit, as the team has sunk to 10th in the league in runs scored.  They scored 24 runs in the recent home stand, while giving up 55.  The run differential for the season is now minus 25.
The Rangers are thus on the fence as far as being contenders or pretenders for a playoff berth this year.  They likely will look at offers for Wandy Rodriguez, who could help a lot of teams.
Yovani Gallardo is the real prize.  He has surprised even the Rangers with a 2.62 ERA in 19 starts, which ranks sixth in the A.L.  His record is just 7-8 because the Rangers simply don’t score runs when he pitches.  He is in the final year of his contract, but would still bring a handsome return if the Rangers make him available for trade.  Undoubtedly, the Rangers will hold onto him until close to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline to be sure they are not in a pennant race before dealing him.
GM Jon Daniels has stated that he is looking for a couple of bullpen arms and perhaps a right-handed bat as he approaches the trade deadline.  That of course supposes that the Rangers are actually in a playoff race.  Daniels always wants to believe there is hope and will likely miss the opportunity to upgrade the talent in the system.
Adrian Beltre would be attractive to a contender.  The likelihood though is that on Saturday morning August 1, Beltre wakes up still a member of the Texas Rangers, which struggle to finish near .500 for the season, missing a great opportunity for a talent influx.
The Rangers are supposedly one of three or four teams that are “in” on Cole Hamels.  Hamels is a very good pitcher, but the Phillies are seeking a super talent haul in return, and have not shown much inclination to subsidize the remaining $90 million on Hamels’ contract.  The scuttlebutt on the Rangers’ interest is that Amaro hasn’t budged from his exorbitant asking price, which the Rangers aren’t willing to do.  Adding $20 million per year to the Rangers’ payroll is likely a problem too.  A Cole Hamels trade would boost the Rangers’ rotation for a number of years, but it’s not likely to happen.
The Rangers lead off the second half of the season with Martin Perez starting Friday night in Houston.  Perez made his first Major League appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery last year.  He wasn’t particularly good in six minor league rehab assignments – an 0-1 record and 4.56 ERA.
He’ll be followed by Colby Lewis on Saturday and Gallardo on Sunday.  Rodriguez and Matt Harrison will start next Monday and Tuesday to begin the Colorado series.  Interestingly, Nick Martinez is not among the starting pitchers in the first five games after the break.  He was the Rangers second best starting pitcher in the first half next to Gallardo.  His ERA was 3.43 and 12 of his 16 starts were quality starts.  He was sent down with about a week left in the first half to rest, as the Rangers worried about his mounting innings total.
The Rangers for whatever reason prefer to go with Harrison at this point, who was not good in six minor league rehab starts and gave up six earned runs in four innings, a 13.50 ERA, in his first start for Texas.  His fast ball is registering only in the mid-80’s, after the surgeries he has endured.  However, the Rangers can’t send him to the minor leagues without his permission, and he’s not injured enough to collect on his disability insurance.  Right now he looks like a hole in the rotation every fifth day.

AND ALSO:  
– Over the All-Star break, the Franchise Four for each team was announced.  The Franchise Four were selected in a fan vote.  The “Mount Rushmore” of Rangers’ includes Nolan Ryan, Ivan Rodriguez, Michael Young and Adrian Beltre.    Unfortunately, the fans got this one wrong.  Juan Gonzalez should be on the list.  Gonzalez, who was inducted into the Rangers’ Hall of Fame last Saturday, is the most prolific offensive player in Ranger history.  He has more home runs and more RBIs than any other Ranger with a .326 career batting average.  He is the only Ranger to win the A.L. MVP Award twice, and he led the Rangers to their first three playoff appearances in club history in the late 90’s.
– In last weekend’s SiriusXM All-Star Futures game, Nomar Mazara went 2-3 for the World team, while Nick Williams played late in the game and singled to drive in a run for the U. S. team, which won 10-1.  Outfielders Mazara and Williams are ranked third and seventh on MLB.com’s list of top Ranger prospects.
– Derek Holland will likely start a minor league rehab assignment next week.

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