Rangers News and Notes – Week 17

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, July 30th, 2016

joey-gallo-mlb-4
BY DIC HUMPHREY
DIC.HUMPHREY@YAHOO.COM

ARLINGTON, Texas – It’s been a busy week on and off the field
this week in Ranger Land, and this weekend promises to be even busier
as the non-waiver trade deadline is Monday. The Rangers have made one
trade that added two pitchers to the Major League roster, but expect
to make at least one more, most likely with bigger names involved.
Texas traded prospect Travis Demeritte to Atlanta for
left-handed reliever Dario Alvarez and right-handed starting pitcher
Lucas Harrell. Alvarez is extremely tough on left-handed hitters and
has struck out an amazing 28 batters in 15 relief innings for the
Braves. He joins Jake Diekman and Alex Claudio as left-handed options
in the bullpen.
Harrell has a 2-2 record with a 3.38 ERA in five starts for
Atlanta. He also made 15 total appearances in triple-A this year, 11
of which were starting assignments, with a 5-2 record and 3.06 ERA.
He first pitched in the Majors in 2010, and has a 20-35 record in 93
Major League games (67 starts). He is likely the Rangers’ starting
pitcher on Sunday afternoon against the Royals.
Demeritte was drafted with the 30th pick in the first round of
the 2013 amateur draft. He is a second baseman that was hitting .272
at Class A Advanced High Desert with an eye-catching 25 home runs and
59 RBIs. He is a legitimate power prospect that played in this year’s
SiriusXM All-Star Futures game. He is a native of Georgia, so will
join the organization he grew up cheering for.
Demeritte is now listed on the Atlanta web site as the team’s
ninth best minor league prospect. Scott Lucas, a guru on the Rangers’
farm system, estimates that Demeritte would have been in the 11-12
range if he were still a Ranger.

Fielder update
The Rangers announced that Prince Fielder would undergo season
ending neck surgery. It was to be performed by Dr. Drew Dossett, who
performed a similar procedure two years ago. There was no official
speculation as to whether Fielder will be able to continue his career
after the surgery. All indications are that coming back from a second
such surgery is even more difficult than doing so the first time.
With the news of Fielder being out for the season, Joey Gallo
was finally added to the roster. He homered in his first game,
driving in two of the three runs the Rangers scored on Tuesday.

Martinez called up
Nick Martinez was called up from Round Rock to start Tuesday’s
game, and Kyle Lohse was designated for assignment to make room on the
roster. The move also freed up a spot on the 40-man roster for one of
the two pitchers received in the trade with the Braves.(Justin
Ruggiano was later designated for assignment to make room for the
other on the 40-man roster.)
Martinez was fine for three innings, but as the Oakland hitters
came to bat for a second time, Martinez didn’t fare so well. For the
day, he completed four innings giving up five runs on six hits which
included three home runs. Martinez was optioned to Round Rock on
Thursday to make room for the newly acquired reliever, Dario Alvarez
on the active roster.

Rangers continue to deal
The Rangers are undoubtedly not through dealing. Jon Daniels
says that the focus is still on pitching, though he will explore any
opportunity to make the team better. They are still linked to
Chicago, who is soliciting offers for Chris Sale, perhaps the best
pitcher in baseball not named Clayton Kershaw. Sale started this
year’s All-Star game for the American League and is signed through
2018 with a club option for 2019 at a reasonable salary for a starting
pitcher.
National Writer Richard Justice predicted this week that Sale
will not be traded, as he doubts any team will meet the White Sox’ sky
high asking price. They want five quality prospects, and for Texas
that includes Nomar Mazara, and at least one of Gallo and Jurickson
Profar if not both.
James Shields is another White Sox pitcher that could be traded. He
was once a top pitcher in the league, but is struggling this season
first at San Diego, and now with Chicago. However, he has pitched
well in his last six starts, and could be a find.
Other names that could be moving to Texas are Andrew Cashner,
Chris Archer, and Mike Moore.
Daniels has been looking mostly for pitchers that are under
contract past this season. However, he admitted that he is giving
more thought to players that can be free agents after this year with
the thought that the price could be less. Minnesota’s Ervin Santana
and Kansas City’s Edinson Volquez fall into this category.
As for other areas of the team, the most prominent name being
thrown around is catcher Jonathan Lucroy. He’s a .300 hitter that
made the National League All-Star team. He also throws out a high
percentage of would be base stealers, which is a glaring weakness of
the current Ranger catchers – Robinson Chirinos and Bobby Wilson, who
is mired in a horrible offensive slump.
On the field, the Rangers disappointingly lost two of three to
Oakland to start the week. The A’s came to town in last place, but to
their credit, they played well. They did not make an error in the
series, while the Rangers committed five. All three starting pitchers
threw a quality start at Texas. They scored six runs in each game.
They were actually one out away from a three game sweep. In game one,
Adrian Beltre hit a two-run walk-off home run in the ninth inning with
two outs for the lone Ranger win.
Texas came back to beat Kansas City to open a four game series
on Thursday. Cole Hamels threw a season high 123 pitches to complete
eight innings to win his 12th game. He is also 8-1 in his Ranger
career when pitching after a Ranger loss, and 19-3 since joining the
Rangers last year. (Better yet, the Rangers are 26-7 in the 33 games
he has started since the trade.) Texas garnered just four hits in the
game, but three of them were home runs – a 468 foot blast into the
upper deck in right field from Rougned Odor and a pair from Mitch
Moreland, including one in the eighth inning to provide the winning
margin in the 3-2 game.

AND ALSO:
o MLB.com released an updated Rangers’ top 30 prospect list this
week. Joey Gallo is number one and is 15th overall. Outfielder Lewis
Brinson, currently at AA Frisco, is ranked second and 22nd.
Right-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz is number three and 65. He is
currently at Frisco after starting the season at Class A Advanced High
Desert. Left handed pitcher Yohander Mendez is number four in the
Rangers’ system and cracked the top 100 at 69. He is also currently
at Frisco. RHP Dillon Tate, 2B Andy Ibanez, OF Leody Taveras, 1B
Ronald Guzman, OF Ryan Cordell, and LHP Cole Ragans round out the
Rangers’ top 10.
o Josh Hamilton, who underwent reconstructive surgery on his left
knee on June 8, says he expects to be back with the team next year and
to be 100% healthy when spring training begins. Jon Daniels had
indicated earlier that he wasn’t sure that he would be willing to
commit a spot on the 40-man roster to Hamilton, but Hamilton says that
he is willing to come to spring training as a non-roster player.

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