7/27/2014 9:00 P.M. ET
Rangers will try to be opportunistic at Trade Deadline
Texas expects to be contender next season, will look for opportunities to get ahead
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- With just a few shopping days left before the Thursday's 3 p.m. CT non-waiver Trade Deadline, there is one question surrounding the Rangers.
Who will be the next to go?
The Rangers already have shown they are willing to trade veteran players for future help by sending Jason Frasor to the Royals and Joakim Soria to the Tigers for three young pitchers.
Texas may not be done. Left-hander Neal Cotts is a free agent after this season, and he has drawn some interest. Left-handed relievers are always prized at the Trade Deadline. With clubs like the Yankees, Royals and Indians among the teams looking for outfield help, Alex Rios should be a topic of conversation.
Having fallen out of contention, the Rangers are looking at all possibilities that may present themselves before the Deadline. It also may come to pass that Texas' best deal for either player may not come until the last minute.
"Whatever situation you find yourself in, you have to take advantage of it," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said.
The Rangers are not holding a fire sale. Clubs, including the Nationals, have asked about third baseman Adrian Beltre, and they have been turned away. Texas still expects to be a contender next season, and it is not interested in a long-term rebuilding program.
The Rangers' main goal is to get ahead on next season, and they are expecting reliever Corey Knebel, one of two pitchers acquired from the Tigers for Soria, to at least compete for a spot in the bullpen. Spencer Patton, picked up from the Royals for Frasor, is another candidate.
Texas also knows it holds a $12.5 million option on Rios for 2015. The club is going to need somebody to play right field next season, so it is not particularly eager to trade Rios unless it gets a sizable package in return.
The Rangers have assigned a value to all their players who might be available through trade, and if a club isn't willing to meet them at that point, then a deal isn't likely to happen.
The last time Texas was in a position this severe was in 2007. The club definitely took advantage of the situation. The most famous trade at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline was when the Rangers sent first baseman Mark Teixeira and reliever Ron Mahay to the Braves for catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, shortstop Elvis Andrus and pitchers Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Beau Jones.
The trade ranks as the No. 1 reason why Texas went to two straight World Series in 2010-11. But that was not the only trade the club made that day. It also sent reliever Eric Gagne to the Red Sox for pitcher Kason Gabbard and outfielders Engel Beltre and David Murphy.
Murphy was never an All-Star in Texas like Harrison, Andrus and Feliz, but he also was a big contributor to the World Series teams.
The Teixeira trade continues to give back to the Rangers. In 2010, Texas traded Saltalamacchia to Boston for three Minor League players, a deal that went down right at the Deadline. One of them was pitcher Roman Mendez, who opened with 10 scoreless innings for the Rangers after being called up on July 7.
There are many ways to get better by July 31. Texas will try to be as opportunistic as possible right up to the last moment.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.