The trade deadline in MLB, for the first time a sole one, is just nine days away and needless to say a lot of star pitchers from underachieving teams are on the market. With Madison Bumgarner off market for now, attention turns to Texas Rangers ace Mike Minor – second in Earned Run Average in the American League with 2.86.
A durable pitcher would solidify the rotation of many contending teams who are lacking on the mound. For some teams, an ace would make a difference. Let’s not forget that for a big period of the first half of the season the Rangers were a wild card team, but have since been nowhere near that team.
Let’s see who should trade to Mike Minor:
New York Yankees
The Yankees have remained dominant, even during the massive absence of numerous key players due to injuries from the very start of the season.
And while the secondary bats have delivered, such as Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu, their pitching has yet to recover from the absence to Luis Severino. Domingo German started off well but has since dropped his numbers, Masahiro Tanaka has had a solid season and James Paxton has had his problems since returning from injury, but nobody has sparkled as the ace of the staff.
The Yankees have also expressed interest towards Marcus Stroman, but if they don’t have to give up too much for him, Minor is hands down a better option. Also, if Deivi Garcia is going to be a part of the trade, Minor is worth it way more than Stroman.
Colorado have enjoyed considerable success with practically no pitching. Although the Rockies are currently in a really bad streak, they were occupying the second NL Wild Card just three weeks ago.
And despite this bad form, Charlie Blackmon has been on fire since before the All-Star break and David Dahl and Nolan Arenado are also batting over .300. So, the Rockies are still a contender for the playoffs, and they have done that with the second-worst ERA in all of baseball (5.52).
For a team that clearly has enough talent to change the outcome of the season, it is an obligation to get at least one good pitcher. Minor’s also 11th in the American League in strikeouts and his ability to be a strikeout pitcher and end at-bats on a quick count is going to keep the ball away from the Coors offensive madness.
The downside is, because they have the talent, they might have to give something big up, and David Dahl or even prospect Brendan Rodgers might be going to Arlington.
Mike Soroka has been one of the most important players for the Braves’ success this season but he won’t be enough on his own. The Nationals, with the best rotation in the division, and an equally efficient offense, are coming for the Braves’ first place, and even if Atlanta keeps its first place, the likes of Kevin Gausman and Julio Teheran won’t be able to keep control of the Cubs or the Brewers, who have the 5th and 6th best offenses in the NL, or whoever comes out of the Central.
As we said, the Braves’ two biggest battles remaining this year are with the Nats for the division crown and in the playoffs (potentially) with the NL Central champion. And Atlanta’s two best pitchers, Mike Fried and Soroka, might not be enough. Their supporting cast around the rotation, which has 4.25 ERA, needs an upgrade.
Despite the efforts of Zach Davies and Brandon Woodruff, who’ve had career seasons, Brewers still have the fourth-worst ERA in the NL and second-worst in the NL Central. The bullpen, and Josh Hader in particular, is still nasty, but they need at least another starter. Davies and Woodruff are the only qualified Milwaukee starters with ERA under 5.00.
Under the same circumstances the Brewers used their bullpen in a creative way in the NLCS, but that type of pitching usage won’t work in the regular season, which has games a lot more often, and would tire the bullpen.
A starter-for-reliever deal might be suitable here as Texas has had one of the worst bullpens in the game with an ERA of 5.05. That’s if they feel like they have any chance to get back into the playoff conversation. If not – a couple of prospects, and potentially Keston Hiura as part of the trade.
San Diego Padres
Their case is similar to the Brewers. Craig Stammen and Kirby Yates have been lights out but have been used too much this season due to a gradual downgrade in the rotation – Chris Paddack spent considerable time in Triple-A, and even Double-A, and the Padres have had to experiment with multiple call-ups.
Some of which, such as Eric Lauer, have been solid, and some, like Logan Allen, have not. No starter has more than seven wins, while Stammen, who has not started any of his 48 games, has won second-best six.