Now that July is here, trade talks are turning much more serious, and Gagne and Otsuka have become the focal point for the Rangers while Teixeira’s on the mend.
I hope the Rangers keep Otsuka. He’s got enough in the tank to remain an effective closer for several year – long enough to contribute more on the team than through a trade to the Rangers’ chances of becomming contenders in 2-3 seasons.
So let’s talk Gagne first, especially because he’s definitely going, and while he’d be a rent-a-player for team making a run down the stretch, he offers a bidder the added value will be 2 draft picks to wherever he goes when he walks as a free agent this winter.
According to T.R. Sullivan’s article last week, “…the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have shown the most interest in Gagne.”
Gagne, another Boras client, has a list of 12-teams the Rangers can trade him to without his prior consent. The best I can gather is that the Red Sox, Yankees, Mets and Angels, are on that list. The other eight are being kept secret. Who knows why. And, MLB Trade Rumors is revealing more every day about Gagne’s limited no-trade clause.
So far, only two teams match T.R.’s “interested” list and Gagne’s “allowable” list: the Yankees and Red Sox – the two teams everyone wants to have interested in the same guy because they’ll spend the money, have prospects and major-league ready talent to spare, and will bid up the price on each other.
But, what do the Rangers need that they can fill through a Gagne trade?
To turn the Rangers into a championship caliber team, the need (besides a new owner), starting pitching, a firstbaseman to replace Teixeira when he leaves, a center fielder, at least one corner outfielder (assuming out of Byrd, Cruz, Diaz and Botts the Rangers can produce one capable everyday starter in one of the corners and one bench/DH player) and an upgrade at catcher (pretty much in that order).
There will be a lot of free agent outfielders on the market this winter, and the Rangers will have plenty of money to sign a starter and an outfielder (preferably Torii Hunter to finally give the Rangers a bat and – as important – a glove out of center field – see the post and subsequent comments about next year’s team two posts below). So with Gagne, I think the Rangers should focus on a corner outfielder, a catcher or a firstbaseman – in that order.
Getting a major-league ready guy who can play and contribute every day at one of those three spots will make a significant impact for the team’s future. Additionally, by addressing one of those needs with Gagne, Little Jon DanielsHart should then be able to focus solely on starting pitching for the Teixeira trade. And, a younger, lower paid outfielder from a Gagne trade also frees up cash for the free agent market.