Blockbuster Ideas

Texas Rangers third baseman Joey Gallo (13) is pictured in the dugout during the Oakland Athletics vs. the Texas Rangers major league baseball game at Globe Life Park in Arlington, on Tuesday, June 23, 2015. (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News)

Alright, we played with our Surplus Values all week. We identified some nice pieces that would improve what already should be an internally improved Division Winner. But that’s not enough for us. We want to sling this team to World Series contender. We want to make a move that breaks twitter for a day. We want to throw something into the blog-o-sphere that derails afternoon sports talk in town. We want to construct a blockbuster deal for your Texas Rangers. Let’s get to it!

First, and foremost, let’s have a little more trade proposal talk. We have a base for balance with our Surplus Value calculator, and our prospect value table. However, a blockbuster deal requires way more than trying to balance a couple of big numbers. These deals typically involve mega money, either currently owed, or soon to be paid. They almost always involve emotional attachment, and often city, even game, icons. A blockbuster will take multiple players going multiple ways, and often require some “sweetening” to get just right, and consequently, will normally be mutually exclusive. As you read on, remember all of this as the numbers and names dance in your head. You’re going to feel some doubt, probably some hurt too. Some of you will raise an eyebrow, others will get lost in thought. You’re going to give up guys whose potential if realized, is probably equal to what the actual potential is, of the player you acquire. Keep this in mind as it is all done with the intent of making the 2016 Rangers markedly better, and of course, is pure speculation.

You guys ready? Here we go…

 

The Texas Rangers Trade Ryan Cordell, Yohander Mendez, Luke Jackson, and Ti’Quan Forbes to the Brewers for Ryan Braun and cash.

Ryan Braun is the Brewers version of Prince Fielder. He’s overpaid for what amounts to a lack of power at this point in his career. Sure there’s still hope he can hit 30 plus homeruns, but no one trades for Braun and that contract with hope in the equation. His surplus Value sits at -$40.1 million dollars, but the next couple of years he shows value, with a huge upside. He still hit .283/.351/.483/.833 the last three years, and 44 home runs the last two. He plays the outfield where the Rangers need a solid starter, and is right handed helping to balance the lineup. He’s also homegrown talent in Milwaukee and a fan favorite despite the PR nightmares of the last few years. But a new regime is there to make the Brewers better and trading Braun makes sense. The Brewers would get a huge bullpen piece in Jackson, still with starter potential, two young flexible guys in Forbes/Cordell, and a young arm that is dominating at Low A in Mendez. Using the Surplus Value calculator, we assume Milwaukee needs to pay this contract down to about 12 million dollars a year to make the above trade work.

 

The Texas Rangers Trade Nomar Mazara, Luis Ortiz, Ryan Rua, Ariel Jurado, and Chi Chi Gonzalez to the Oakland Athletics for Sonny Gray.

This is the monster, eye in the sky deal, every team dreams about. Sonny Gray is a true Ace with three full seasons of team control. He’s pitched 200 plus innings each of the last two years, while posting a 2.91 era and 1.14 whip in the same time. He has averaged 7.7 K/9 for his career. His season strike out totals could be better, and I love the idea of what he can be under the guide of this organization. His surplus value is at $47.5 million dollars setting him as major bang for the buck. This also means cash strapped Oakland will have to be blown away to trade him. This will cost a fortune, but catapults the Rangers to what amounts to maybe the strongest starting five in the American League with Yu Darvish healthy. The Rangers also add top of the rotation depth like this organization has never seen. The Athletics land a starter, Gonzalez, a potential all star outfielder that plays defense and a huge bat in Mazara, Ortiz, a soon to be starter with upside and great makeup, and a huge pitching prospect in Jurado. This package still may be a player short. If so, I trust this front office to make the right decision here. This isn’t a rental. This isn’t an aging player with a big contract. This is a franchise changing move and one we wouldn’t hesitate to make if the price is tolerable.

 

The Texas Rangers Trade Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, John Fasola to the Cincinnati Reds for Todd Frazier.

Todd Frazier is everything you hope Joey Gallo can be; an above average defensive third baseman with monster power. 35 homeruns in 2015, dropped in Texas’s lineup, changes things dramatically. He’s owe $7.5 million for 2016 and is arbitration eligible for 2017, and sits at $21.7 million in surplus value. The reds are rebuilding, and this is their only chip with Cueto gone and Votto under a massive contract. This is a little tricky, with Adrian Beltre and Gallo both here. I could see Adrian receiving an extension, with the idea he moves to first, and Gallo has already been playing the outfield, so I think there are ways to make this work. I’m not sure this isn’t the right place to use the Gallo chip either, if necessary, and it may take more that one player out of the proposed equation in doing this as his value in our the prospect table is $40 plus million. With the Yu/Hamels window open the next two years, I find any way to get Frazier’s bat in the lineup. That’s a monster package for the Reds, headed by Brinson and Ortiz, a future MLB centerfielder and middle to top of the rotation starter. Yet it remains a trade the Rangers’ organization could withstand, with Gallo, Mazara, still in the system, (or Brinson, if Gallo goes in deal instead), and arms to fill out the back of the rotation more easily to find not only internally, but also in free agency.

 

Any of the deals above make the 2016 Rangers a much better team. The last two, make them one of the top teams in the League. Add Sonny Gray, and the Rangers probably become serious World Series contenders for the next two years. You’ll notice too, that the mammoth contracts of Choo and Fielder did not present themselves in any deal, nor does Holland. Holland has huge value and as we’ve seen the last two years, depth is a much. Suitors for big contracts are few and far between, and thus just unlikely to move. Fortunately those guys are contributing, even if they are overpaid.

There’s so much involved in baseball trades that it’s usually hard to anticipate what deals could happen, let alone if they will happen. But it’s one of the best offseason times in all of sports, and gives us all something to talk about at the water cooler. We hope we’ve given you something to chew on before the Hot Stove really heats up, and equipped you with some new tools to make you a more educated fan as the winter goes on.

And finally, huge shout out to Grant Schiller for everything he did in assisting me with this article. His knowledge of the farm is incredible and none of this is possible without him.

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Leddy Foster
Lifelong Ranger fan, forever baseball fan. DFW sports fanatic. Attended UNT. Most weekends you can find my wife and me having a beer somewhere around the square in Denton. Game 6 was the worst moment of my life, and I was an orphan at the age of 26. I use metaphors often, and I rarely apologize.

2 comments

  • I like the Gray deal, which I interpret as Oakland not taking it. Not that I think they’re actually open to trading Gray in the first place. The other two I’m not a big fan of. I think Braun is too much risk to give up any kind of decent prospect. While the group you selected aren’t bank-breakers, I’m still not sure Braun would be worth the chance. The Frazier trade I just think there are too many moving parts to make it work. Also, not a fan of trading Brinson. Just my opinion, although it’s not a rare one: I would put Brinson at the top of the prospect tree right now. The top center fielder in baseball this past year generated something like 3.5 WAR of value, and it drops rapidly from there. That’s Leonys Martin at his best territory, and Brinson’s overall ceiling is higher. Defense almost as good with a bat much better. That’s a more rare bird than a power-hitting 3B. I can see moving Gallo, except that it would be a (relatively) short-term deal. Kudos to you that you describe it as such (two-year window), but I’d like to think a little longer-termed.

    Still, I really like the Gray deal. That would be a monster win for Texas.

    • Roy you are spot on with everything above. Would not argue any of that with you. Just comes down to personal risks/rewards… Of all of them, the Gray deal is by far the biggest and most impactful. Oakland works in 4-5 year blocks, with 2-3 year competitive windows in between. They have to do this because they rely only on their own system and reclamation projects, (which they have a history of hitting big on). I think they are staring 3 years of non competitive ball right in the face this offseason. So, do/will they move Gray, probably safe bet says no, but I’m pretty sure we all said that last off season with Donaldson. And when you look at that same scenario, doesn’t it seem crazy to trade JD and then keep Gray? You probably deduct a prospect in this trade for every year they wait to trade him. I could totally see them keeping him, but would not be shocked at all to see him on the block.

      I like the Frazier deal a lot more than most, but admittedly I’m soft of hope for prospects. It does require some other things to fall into place, and maybe this one would coincide with one of the smaller deals yesterday. But for sure I’m in the minority on this one.

      I think the Bruan deal could really work if Milwaukee wants to start rebuilding, however I’m not sure I like it more than trying to land Lucroy if they are going to deal.

      Thanks for really thinking hard this week with all this stuff. Appreciate the feedback and enjoy talking baseball with you.

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