A Look at the Trade Deadline in the Wild, Wild AL West
In a series that included a bench-clearing pushing match, the managers needing to be separated, some great throwback uniforms and another masterpiece by "Keuchel-Angelo," the Astros take 2 out of 3 from the Rangers.
After trading one-run wins, the Astros drubbed the Rangers 10-0 on Sunday to put an emphatic close on this weekend series. The Rangers still lead the the battle for the Silver Boot with a 5-4 record against the Astros on the year.
The first weekend back from the All-Star break has the Astros a game back from first place in the AL West. It puts the Rangers back 7.5. The Angels are in first and are playing the best baseball in the West. The A's and Mariners trailing behind at nine games back.
The Astros have surprised everyone this year and will have to continue to surprise if they want to win this division. The Astros are still a year or two away from winning the division or a pennant. I do think they have built their team the right way and should stay the course. The Astros have the potential to sneak into the second wildcard spot with the team they have, even though they lack a strong 5th starter.
That being said, and with the trade deadline looming, if they do make a move it will be for an OF bat to ease the blow of George Springer's injury.
Longtime Ranger target Justin Upton is a name to watch out for with the Astros deep farm system capable of snagging the big fish. Upton could swing the Astros from a fringe playoff team to back in the hunt for a division title. Even if the Astros land a bat like Upton I still feel that they are too young and inexperienced to last through the heat of the summer.
The Angels have to be the favorite moving forward from the All-Star break. They have the best player in baseball (Mike Trout) and the rest of their line-up has been hot as well. With the resurgence of Albert Pujols and the emergence of a solid rotation, the Angels are in a good spot to end the year strong.
The Angels' rotation, featuring All-Star Hector Santiago, has been absolutely vital for the last month and looks to stay strong moving forward with top prospect Andrew Heaney being called up and winning his first three decisions. If the Angels want to stay on the pace they have been on, winning 8 of their last 10, this rotation has to stay strong.
After getting much-needed help in the bullpen at the 2014 deadline, the Halos are once again buyers at the deadline. With former GM Dipoto out of the picture, the Angels are kind of unpredictable. While the first place Angels have been linked to Jay Bruce from the Reds and Ben Zobrist from division rival Oakland, they have been playing this deadline close to the vest.
The Rangers, Mariners and A's are all in close proximity at 7.5 and 9 games back, respectively. All three of these teams are close in record, but they could all play this deadline completely different.
The A's and GM Billy Beane have had a quick trigger finger and are definitely willing to sell at the deadline. Zobrist, Scott Kazmir, Ike Davis and Tyler Clippard could all help teams still in the hunt. I wouldn't put it past Beane to send Josh Reddick somewhere in a trade before the deadline.
The Mariners will likely have a quiet deadline. Not looking to rebuild as much as they probably want to just forget that 2015 ever happened. They may try to add a Catcher and will probably listen if someone comes calling with a big offer but it is unlikely they make a big deal at the deadline.
The Rangers are the most curious case of the bottom three. After losing eight of their last 10 games, this season is quickly getting out of hand. With so much to look forward to next year, namely the returns of Darvish and Holland, I would hate to see the Rangers sell off Gallo or other top prospects that could see major playing time in 2016 and beyond.
That being said, if the Rangers could get a starting pitcher -- like Cole Hamels -- who has some team control past 2015, I think the Rangers should take that deal.
The Rangers will be sellers at the deadline. Gallardo would benefit a contender and could get a few prospects back. If GM Jon Daniels can trade Sin-Soo Choo (and that's a huge if) with that ginormous contract, that would make room for some younger talent that is bubbling in the Rangers' farm system.
Keeping up with Jon Daniels propensity for Cubs pitching at the deadline the Rangers are rumored to get Edwin Jackson. A starting pitcher who was banished to the bullpen prior to this season, Jackson could provide a boost to the Rangers' terrible, no good, awful, very bad bullpen.
Along with Gallardo, Wandy Rodriguez and Carlos Corporan are likely to be traded away for minimal return. If the Rangers make a splash at the deadline, it will be because they found someone to take Choo, or because they get Cole Hamels.
The Astros have the day off before starting a series with Boston. The Rangers start a series with Colorado tonight and welcome Nick Martinez back to the Big League mound.