The Big Picture
The Rangers have been the American League representative in the World Series each of the past two seasons. In 2012, they are 46-29 and battling with the New York Yankees for the best record in the league. To no surprise, the Los Angeles Angels have started playing (pitching) better and despite a slow start, they are just 4.5 games behind Texas.
Why They Will Trade With the Twins
The Rangers don’t have a lot of needs. Generally, they are considered one of, if not the, best all-around teams in baseball. They have the best offense in baseball. Their pitching staff is among the top five in baseball.
However, the Rangers have shown in recent years that they are willing to deal at the trade deadline to become even stronger. Two years ago, they gave up (then) top prospect Justin Smoak to Seattle for Cliff Lee. Last year, they had one of baseball’s strongest bullpens and went out and acquired Koji Uehara and Mike Adams and Michael Gonzalez. Then in the offseason, they signed Joe Nathan.
If Justin Morneau can possibly turn things around and hit for the next three weeks, he is a possible target as he would be a little improvement over the currently-injured Mitch Moreland at first base. David Murphy plays left field most of the time with Josh Hamilton in centerfield. Late in games, they move Hamilton to left field and insert Craig Gentry for defensive purposes. The team would like to move Hamilton to left field more permanently. Currently, the Rangers leadoff hitter is Ian Kinsler who does a decent job of getting on base, but with his power, he might fit better down in the lineup. Denard Span would make a lot of sense for the Rangers as he could take over in center field and in the leadoff spot. Of course, they could also inquire about Josh Willingham to take over in left field or DH (with Michael Young playing more first base). Much depends upon how well Leonys Martin can play over the next month.
Of course, with Nolan Ryan involved, it would surprise no one if the Rangers did target some additional pitching. That means names like Francisco Liriano, Glen Perkins and Jared Burton could be trade targets, as well.
Why They Won't Trade With the Twins
As mentioned above, the Rangers do not have many needs. The Rangers’ offense currently leads MLB in Batting Average (.282), On-Base Percentage (.343), Slugging Percentage (.456), and of course OPS (.800). The Rangers are also fourth in MLB in team ERA (3.61) and Batting Average Against (.242).
How much more salary will the team want to incur going forward? In the offseason, Josh Hamilton will become a free agent.
The Rangers have a strong farm system. They have the talent to win already, as they have proven the last two-plus seasons. Their core, along with some of the impressive stable of prospects in their system, could keep the Rangers in contention for years to come.
The Rangers do not have a lot of needs, but after falling short in the World Series each of the past two seasons, they will certainly be willing to deal to make themselves better. The Rangers have a strong farm system and have shown a willingness to use it to acquire players in each of the past two seasons. With their 20 year, $3 billion television contract from Fox Sports Southwest, payroll is not an issue. According to Forbes, the Rangers are worth $674 million, a 20% increase from 2011. However, adding a player like Denard Span and his team-friendly contract would make their offense, and their defense, even stronger. And based on last year, the Rangers clearly believe that you can never have too much quality pitching.
Over at Twins Daily, you can see a list of five Rangers prospects that the Twins could target in potential trades.