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The Weather’s Getting Cold. The World Series Dragged. Let’s Make Up Some Rangers Trades.

It's the time of year when we need to create our own baseball entertainment. You gave us your ideas. Now we assess them ... including a Joey Gallo homecoming?!
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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

You can define the key eras of the Rangers franchise by the trades they made. When they finally erased a quarter-century of postseasonlessness (we’re making this a word) in the mid-’90s, their run of three first-round playoff appearances (and losses to the Yankees) in a four-year span was marked by trades for John Burkett, Rick Helling, Aaron Sele, and Todd Stottlemyre. Then came the extended selloff sequence that saw Juan Gonzalez, Mark Teixeira, and others go, and prospects Michael Young, Francisco Cordero, and Adrian Gonzalez arrive, followed by Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, and Matt Harrison. 

Two World Series teams featured key trade pickups like Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Mike Napoli, and Cliff Lee, and then the tail end of that run of contention led to the arrivals of Cole Hamels, Carlos Beltran, and Jonathan Lucroy. Since? So long, Yu Darvish (in part for Willie Calhoun and A.J. Alexy), Keone Kela (Taylor Hearn and Sherten Apostel), Mike Minor (Dustin Harris and Marcus Smith), Lance Lynn (Dane Dunning and Avery Weems), Andrus (Jonah Heim and Dane Acker), and Joey Gallo (Glenn Otto, Josh Smith, Ezequiel Duran, and Trevor Hauver).

There’s a shift in the trade market gameplan coming. Aside from there being very few veterans left to sell off, the front office insists the club is ready to spend. Making noise on the free-agent market is the obvious implication—but a deepened farm system and the ability to take on payroll could facilitate trades as well.

Ahead of that, let’s have some fun. I asked you guys to spitball your own winter trade ideas, and you responded with such force that I only have the space to get to a fraction of them. Let’s look at those, through a “Who says no?” lens.

Some submissions have been edited for length and clarity.


Nathaniel Lowe, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Justin Foscue, Josh Smith, Ronny Henriquez, A.J. Alexy, and Kolby Allard for Matt Olson and Matt Chapman.Ryan Denison

Hey, I see what you did there. The A’s, coming off a bit of a regression after three standout seasons, sent strong signals that they’re moving into a teardown when they (oddly) allowed the Padres to swipe expensive manager Bob Melvin without compensation. (Might they look to reunite with Ron Washington to manage the club he spent more than a decade coaching? Please?)

Still, who says no? Oakland.

Why? Because Oakland isn’t trading Olson and Chapman together. If they move both, they’ll separate them and mine from the top of two different farm systems to help replenish a thin stable of prospects. I like the idea of Texas being one of them, and if that’s the case, Olson is the target. He’s better than Chapman, he’s younger, he hits left-handed, and he doesn’t play Josh Jung’s position. 

You’ve put a seven-player package together for the Olson-Chapman combo, so let’s isolate four of them to see if we can come up with a structure that makes sense for both sides. Lowe is an obvious choice—he would replace Olson at first base with five years of control, at least the first of which will be at league-minimum pay. And he’s a base-reacher, which makes him a prototype Athletic. Of the three middle infielders, Kiner-Falefa might not be the best fit for Oakland given that he’s into his arbitration years. But the A’s are really thin up the middle and might want both the shortstop Smith and second baseman Foscue. I’d imagine the Rangers would tier the three pitchers as Alexy, then Henriquez, then Allard. We’ll give them Henriquez, the small righty with the power arsenal and reliever risk. 

One reason I love this trade idea—especially if the Rangers can pull it off relatively early in the offseason—is it would send a strong signal to the free agents with robust markets that this is a team devoting more than just soundbites to its plan to win. 

Oakland would have leverage the minute the club puts Olson (and/or Chapman) on the market. Three years of either one would be attractive to a lot of teams. But if I’m Texas, I’m going to try and move the A’s off of both Smith and Foscue. They can go for ceiling with Luisangel Acuna or floor with Yonny Hernandez.

The deal I’d be comfortable with: Lowe, Foscue, Acuna, and Henriquez for Olson.

 

Texas sends Glenn Otto and Nick Solak to the Reds for Sonny Gray.John Moore

Who says no? The Rangers.

Why? The return for Gray seems about right, but moving six seasons of Otto for just two years of Gray probably isn’t the best fit for Texas’ window. Adding Solak to a deal like this isn’t problematic, but Otto gave the Rangers a really good audition this summer both in Round Rock and early on in Texas. I would guess they’d need a longer-term return to be open to flipping him just a few months after landing him in the Gallo trade.

 

Juan Soto to the Rangers. To the Nationals: Sam Huff, Luisangel Acuna, Ezequiel Duran, Yerry Rodriguez, Nick Snyder. — Robert Batey

Who says no? The Nationals.

Why? Is Soto the least tradeable player in baseball? Or in sports?

 

Joe Barlow, Nate Lowe, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Davis Wendzel to San Diego for Eric Hosmer, Ha-Seong Kim, and Robert Hassell, no cash.[email protected]

Who says no? The Rangers.

Why? Hang on.

 

Padres send Eric Hosmer and MacKenzie Gore to Texas for Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Ronny Henriquez. Michael Peterson

Who says no? The Rangers.

Why? Different reason.

 I like the take-Hosmer-to-get-Hassell concept. I really do. And DStark’s package isn’t outlandish, either. But taking on Kim as well—a Swiss Army knife who had a really tough year at the plate in his age-25 rookie season—is an ender. He’s owed $21 million over the next three years. Absorbing his money along with the $60 million Hosmer can opt into over the next four puts too big a dent in the Rangers’ financial flexibility.

Now, if you can flip Hosmer to, say, the Red Sox and subsidize maybe half his deal for a small return? (Former Paris High and TCU outfielder Phillips Sikes will do.) In that case, I’m getting Hassell by committing $15 million to my payroll the next three years. I’m open to that, but I wouldn’t part with DStark’s foursome just to get Hassell. And I’m not biting on Michael’s proposal without getting Hassell, as Gore regressed horribly this summer and has been no better in the Fall League.

Hassell’s going to be reallllly good. 

 

Ezequiel Duran, Davis Wendzel, and Tekoah Roby to Arizona for Ketel Marte. Robert G. Button

Who says no? The Rangers.

Why? Because this isn’t D(backs) Magazine. The Marte idea is solid; he’s 28 with three years of very affordable control ($30 million total) and is capable both in center field and at second base. Arizona is in as deep a retooling as Texas and, in the NL West, has no real shot at making noise before Marte can leave.

But in Duran, Wendzel, and Roby, you’re asking for three really important pieces in the Texas build. Watering the offer down to Anderson Tejeda (instead of Duran), Ryan Dorow (instead of Wendzel), and Zak Kent (instead of Roby) doesn’t get Arizona’s attention.

Is there a middle ground? How about Huff, Apostel or Solak, and Maximo Acosta?

 

Pirates trade Bryan Reynolds to the Rangers for Taylor Hearn, Ezequiel Duran, and one of Cole Ragans or Cody Bradford. If Justin Foscue or Josh Smith needs to be in Duran’s spot, I’d still do it. — Steven Hart

Bryan Reynolds and David Bednar from Pittsburgh for Nick Solak, Justin Foscue, John King, and Yerry Rodriguez. Bradley Magers 

Who says no? The Pirates.

Why? Reynolds will be 27 with four years of control when the season starts. He’s a switch-hitter who was fantastic from both sides of the plate in a .912-OPS 2021. The Pirates, who have a very good farm system, probably believe they can win in three years. Moving on from Reynolds now for more prospect depth shouldn’t be a priority.

If the Pirates are going to trade the outfielder, it would seem more likely that they’d ship him, say, to the Braves for Michael Harris, to the Blue Jays for Orelvis Martinez, or to the Red Sox for Jarren Duran—that is, to a contender for a clear top-100 prospect type.

I do think Pittsburgh would love to have Hearn back, though.

 

Bubba Thompson and Steele Walker to Cincinnati for Nick Senzel. @Boomstick1741

Who says no? The Reds.

Why? Going into 2019, Austin Riley was Baseball America’s No. 22 prospect. He wasn‘t very good that season as a rookie with Atlanta or in the following year’s shortened season. Now? He’s going to get MVP votes. Senzel was No. 10 in that same 2019 ranking and has been even more disappointing since arriving in Cincinnati, including in 2021. So if you’re figuring this is the time to pick up the 26-year-old center fielder/second baseman since his value is down, that’s not bad thinking.

But it’s also why the Reds probably wouldn’t want to move him. This isn’t a Rougned Odor situation in which the money and commitment are in the way of getting other things done. Both Thompson and Walker are going to play in the major leagues, but neither has nearly the prospect stature that Senzel had not long ago and are certainly not better bets yet to develop into impact players.

Now, if Texas were to pair an arm like Dane Acker or Avery Weems with either Thompson or Walker? Maybe a different story. But I don’t think the Reds would opt to bet on the two Texas outfield prospects at the expense of their own outfield enigma.

Surely there’s a concept out there that I won’t summarily spit on, right? An idea that just might stick?

 

Leody Taveras, Davis Wendzel, and Joe Palumbo to the Yankees for Joey Gallo. #missesTexas Kirk Kinzie

Trevor Hauver (or Glenn Otto) for Joey Gallo. Dustin Kuczaj 

Trevor Hauver and Yerry Rodriguez for Joey Gallo.Kelly Fort

Who says no? Hey! Maybe neither team hangs up.

Why? It wouldn’t be surprising for the Yankees to explore moving on from Gallo, whose two months in pinstripes roughly replicated his disappointing two-month season in 2020. I’m a big proponent of the idea that the Rangers facilitate the exit, and the leverage belongs to Texas.

But I’m reluctant to load up a Taveras/Wendzel/Palumbo package for one year of Gallo since there was apparently no momentum toward a long-term extension before he was sent to New York.

Dustin’s idea of Hauver alone wouldn’t be enough (and no to the Otto idea, for the reasons stated earlier). New York isn’t going to rebrand the trade as Otto, Smith, and Duran for Joely Rodriguez and two bad months of Gallo. 

Would Kelly’s thought of adding Yerry Rodriguez to the offer entice the Yankees, if they believe his conversion to relief could pop the way it did for Jonathan Hernandez (or New York’s Jonathan Loáisiga)? Their system definitely tilts heavily toward position players right now. If Hauver and Rodriguez aren’t enough, let’s throw in reliever Hever Bueno, a former Yankee draftee who has moved methodically up the Texas chain and was reasonably good in AA this year.

Hauver/Rodriguez/Bueno is nothing close to Otto/Smith/Duran/Hauver, and it shouldn’t be. Gallo is now one season closer to free agency, and his Yankees run didn’t go well. From the Rangers’ standpoint, the pennant-race intensity the outfielder experienced, trying as it was, can only help. The 27-year-old didn’t want to leave Texas in the first place, and he likely wouldn’t mind being back. 

And it would be another piece in sending that message to free agents that Texas is trying to win, and not just talking about it.

So we’ve made deals with Oakland, Arizona, and the Yankees, adding Olson, Marte, and Gallo while parting with Lowe, Foscue, Acuna, Henriquez, Huff, Acosta, Solak, Hauver, Rodriguez, and Bueno. Not a bad day’s work.

Carlos Correa, you in?

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