Mercenary For Hire

Rios
There have been a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth in recent memory over the Rangers acquiring a rental player and rightfully so. There are many risks in getting a player for a couple of months, but more importantly Jon Daniels sent the players, fans and the rest of the league a clear message Monday afternoon: The Rangers are all in for 2013.
Despite the numerous injuries, this front office won’t sit idly by and allow Oakland to run away with the division and the AL East teams to control the Wild Card berths. If you believe the Garza acquisition is the only move this front office is going to make, you haven’t been paying attention.

In 2010, Texas acquired Bengie Molina, Cliff Lee, Jeff Francouer and Jorge Cantu.

In 2011, Koji Uehara, Mike Adams and Mike Gonzalez joined the Rangers via trade.

In 2012, Ryan Dempster and Geovany Soto were acquired in separate trades from the Cubs.

Each of the last three years, JD has seen this team’s needs and found a way to address them anyway possible.

Take a look at a few quotes from JD over the last couple of weeks:

July 9: “There are some interesting guys to be talking about, but I don’t see any middle-of-the-order guys available. The guys available are quality role players, but I’m not sure they’d have much of an impact. The number three, four, five hitters just don’t get moved this time of the year.”

July 22: “If there is another addition, and I don’t know if there will be, but it will probably be more on the offensive side with a bat to help carry the load.”

So what is an “impact bat?” In 2010, the Rangers were looking to strengthen their bench with Frenchy and Cantu, but this year it would be ideal to find a starting outfielder to replace the inept David Murphy (currently ranks last among qualified AL outfielders in OPS) or worse, a suspended Nelson Cruz (ranks fourth among AL outfielders in OPS). Ideally, this player would be Alex Rios who not only ranks 12th in OPS among AL outfielders, but also has another year remaining on his contract. Trading for a player of Rios’ ilk would require a hefty price if they don’t want to eat his salary (owed $4M remainder of this season, $12.5M next season and $13.5M team option in 2015), but it would address the outfield situation (Murph and Cruz are free agents at the end of the season).

Over the next week, keep in mind that your favorite organization is looking at all avenues to help this ballclub. In 2012, the Rangers were nearly on the verge of acquiring Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Beckett and Kelly Shoppach from the Red Sox. As crazy as it sounds to hear names like Jose Bautista or Hunter Pence being mentioned as potential trade targets, reality is there are probably even more crazy ideas being floated around front offices all over the league.

Names tied to Texas: Justin Ruggiano, Alfonso Soriano, Kendrys Morales, Marlon Byrd, Nate Schierholtz and Michael Cuddyer. Who would you like to see this team acquire before July 31?  

Eddie Middlebrook is the co-host of “Chin Music” and VP of Media for ShutDowninning. He can be reached at Eddie.Middlebrook@ShutDowninning.com or on Twitter @emiddlebrook
Eddie Middlebrook
Eddie Middlebrook is Senior Writer for @ballparkbanter9 and @shutdowninning. Formerly with @wfaasports and @FoxSportsSW. @IBWAA member. Eddie can be found on Twitter @emiddlebrook.

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