As the Major League Baseball trade deadline approaches, the speculation grows. For fans of a contender, it can be an exciting time as the team can add a piece to the puzzle, like Cliff Lee in 2010 for the Rangers. For a team not in position to make a run, it is a chance to build for the future by adding young talent and shedding payroll. For the Rangers, it's a tad more convoluted. To buy or to sell is not a simple question for this team.
The 2014 season for the Rangers has been cruel and unusual. The 2015 season will be better with Prince Fielder, Jurickson Profar and many others returning to health and ready to contribute. Trading away Adrian Beltre or Joakim Soria or Alex Rios could return a player of value, but that player would need to be ready to step into a team with a chance at a playoff run. Trading Yu Darvish, as proposed by one local radio host, is simply preposterous.
Trading away Elvis Andrus is a little more interesting. I am not condoning that the Rangers trade Elvis, but if you are General Manager Jon Daniels, you have to listen. Elvis is an elite defender, who saves many runs with his ability to get to ground balls that other Major League shortstops don't get to and with his cannon of an arm. Offensively, Elvis is what Elvis is. He's a .275 hitter that can get you several doubles, the occasional home run and handles the bat fairly well. On the bases he can create havoc and put pressure on opposing pitchers. Andrus is streaky, as shown by his .390 average over the last ten games and is an integral part of the core of this team.
Year: .296/.332/.382, .713 OPS. June: .325/.346/.377, .722 OPS. Last 10 games: .390/.419/.439, .858 OPS.
Why are we talking about this? Because Rougned Odor has kicked down the door. It's a short sample, but Odor has impressed at an early age and he's quickly proven he can play at the Major League level. He'll struggle, as any 20-year-old will, but his talent will shine through. With Jurickson Profar, who we have seemed to throw away lately, the Rangers won't lose much if Andrus isn't here anymore.
Profar isn't the defender that Elvis is, but it's not a drastic drop off. Offensively, Profar has had his struggles and his possible breakout year has been derailed by his shoulder injury. The ceiling for Profar is that of an all-star and that hasn't changed. Jurickson was the no. 1 Minor League prospect following the 2012 season by ESPN's Keith Law, Baseball Prospectus and a slew of others. Profar has value and we have seemed to forget that. A lackluster 2013 and Odor's emergence has many people dismissing Profar. Jurickson may never hit his ceiling, but I wouldn't count on that.
While Elvis' value is at its highest, his contract is hefty and the Rangers would probably have to be overwhelmed to make a deal for Profar. A chance to get a starting pitcher is a proposition that is extremely enticing, as well. Making this move would be a gamble....a big gamble in hopes that Jurickson figures it out in 2015. I enjoy watching Elvis play and would rather see him in a Rangers uniform for years to come, but a trade could provide a valuable player(s) in return and open up the logjam in the middle infield.
Trading Profar or Odor are also options. Either of those trades would accomplish less than trading Andrus, but they're also less risky. We don't know what will transpire at the deadline, but it could be completely uneventful or a major shockwave through the organization with a trade. I hope Elvis is here long term, and the chances of that are better than him not being here. A deal for Elvis would have to knock the Rangers' socks off and with that contract, I don't foresee teams lining up to trade for him.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go run and hide because SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket's Sean Bass is going to hunt me down for writing this.
Patrick is the co-host of The Pine Tar Podcast and former CEO of ShutdownInning.com. You can reach him on Twitter @PatrickDespain or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org