According to recent reports the Rangers are out on Chris Sale trade talks. The price appears to be too steep for the Rangers and the team will have to look elsewhere to shore up the starting rotation. My best guess is that Chicago wanted Rougned Odor/Nomar Mazara + Joey Gallo + Jurickson Profar and/or +prospects. Odor+Gallo is fairly even in surplus value and I’m fairly certain, as it has been well known, that Texas values their young players much higher than market value, and I agree with Texas on this. Odor, Gallo, and Mazara have superstar ceilings, I can understand giving one up plus prospects for another already established superstar but Chicago has drawn the line in July, and hasn’t budged.
I’m also seeing murmurs that Chicago does not want to trade Sale to an AL team, which could play a role in their steep price for Sale. Unless a team wants to pay big, Sale will end up for an NL contender instead most likely. Texas has given up on Sale, for now, and will shift their trade cross-hairs elsewhere. My guess, Tampa Bay & Arizona.
Arizona now has a surplus of good, young, pitching talent capable of getting the ball every fifth day and giving their team a fighting chance to win ball games. Evan Grant with the Dallas Morning News reports that the team could shift their focus to Archie Bradley of the Diamondbacks, who would have been my first choice too. However, per Ken Rosenthal with Fox Sports, Bradley is untouchable. Which is shocking, as I figured Robbie Ray would be on the list as well. Arizona needs proven bullpen help, and we have a surplus of great relievers, it’s been our strong suit for the past couple years (but don’t take a look at team stats, thanks to Tom Wilhemson & poor Shawn Tolleson, pray for his father, Mark). As suggested in an earlier post, Texas could send Keone Kela, Brett Martin, Conner Sadzeck or Jospeh Palumbo, & Anderdson Tejada for Robbie Ray and Jason Morowozowski who is a solid sleeper prospect in their organizaion.
The Rangers could also once again start trade talks back up with Tampa Bay for Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, & Drew Smyly. However, in my opinion the Rangers should focus all their efforts on Odorizzi or Smyly, as Archer is likely to command the same price Chicago is asking for Sale or even more. Archer’s contract is probably one of the more team friendliest contracts signed, and due to that, his surplus value worth is higher than Sale’s. Tampa needs a corner outfielder and/or a big bat, and a catcher. Robison Chirinos might be a good temporary fix for Tampa Bay, and he’s relatively cheap compared to what’s on the market now. Chirinos is a proven defender, he doesn’t frame pitches well or have a great arm, but he is sound defensively at his role. Not to mention, he has quite a bit of power and in a 450+ AB season it wouldn’t surprise me if he hits 20+ bombs with equal amount+ of doubles. Tampa Bay is club on a low payroll, so I’d be surprised if they pursue Wellington Castillo, Matt Wieters or some other comp. But the free agent market solutions would be a permanent (over X period of years) solution. Odorizzi is entering his first arbitration eligible off-season, although he is projected at 4.6m, and projected @ 1.8 fWAR for 2017. Smyly is is entering his 2nd arbitration eligible off-season, and is projected at 6.9m, and projected at a 2.5 fWAR in 2017.
I’d think Smyly might be cheaper as he is closer to free agency and 3 years older than Odorizzi, however he is projected at a higher WAR for next season. I’d offer up Robinson Chirinos, Josh Morgan, Brett Martin & Jose Cardona for Jake Odorizzi & Landon Cray. Cray is my deep sleeper prospect in the Rays system. I’ll be surprised if he isn’t ranked in the top 30 of the Rays system before the 2017 season. He split time between Low-A, A, and High-A ball this season and posted a 9.8% strikeout rate at High-A, and a .347 wOBA at A ball. So far, he has displayed good pitch recognition and great plate discipline. His plus speed and plus glove make him a solid defender in the outfield. In fact, Cray didn’t make a single error this season, granted he only had 81 total chances in the outfield. The value of this trade is roughly equal favoring Tampa Bay. I’d offer Brett Nicholas in place of Chirinos and scratch Martin or Morgan from the deal.
Either way, It should be exciting to see what the front office does during the winter meetings.