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Rangers All-Star Break: An Escape As Trade Deadline Looms

The three Texas Rangers All-Stars provided some nice memories this week. But now, it's back to reality.

This season hasn't been easy for the casual fan of the Texas Rangers. The team is 20 games under .500 at the All-Star break, meaning it is just a matter of time before the Rangers tie the longest streak of losing seasons since the franchise moved to Texas in 1972.

But for a few days, there were plenty of reasons to forget about it.

As soon as the final out was recorded in the club's 55th loss of the season on Sunday, all attention turned to the MLB Draft. The Rangers had the No. 2 pick — a spot the franchise hasn't been since 1974. 

With that pick, the Rangers got the guy that virtually everybody wanted. Fans clamored for it. The Rangers wanted him. And now, while we are still waiting for pen and paper to meet, Jack Leiter will be a Texas Ranger.

The next day had us all waiting in anticipation to see just how far Joey Gallo would hit some baseballs in the Home Run Derby at Coors Field. After all, the air is thin and the balls were juiced. Not only was it a surefire bet that Gallo was going to hit at least one 500-foot bomb, but win the whole thing.

Of course we know by now that Joey accomplished neither. He made it interesting by getting into a groove in the final minute of bonus time, but fell one homer short against Colorado Rockies slugger Trevor Story in the first round. But, since the Rangers have been reported to pursue the DFW native, seeing Gallo and Story facing off against each other had fans salivating at the potential that the two could be teammates in 2022 and beyond.

Then came the crown jewel: the All-Star Game. And the three Rangers representatives did not disappoint. Kyle Gibson and Adolis García were there for the first time. And if you couldn't tell, the Rangers ace was as giddy as a kid on Christmas morning after pitching a scoreless inning in the Midsummer Classic.

García and Gallo also displayed what they do so well in a Rangers uniform. In his second at-bat of the game, García lined a base hit into left-center field and hustled like it was a postseason game, stretching a single into a double. As for Joey Gallo, the MLB leader in free passes, he walked in his only plate appearance.

In addition, García and Gallo both took the field as replacements later in the game. It was the first time the Rangers have ever had two outfielders appear in the same All-Star Game. While Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz were both All-Stars in 2009, Cruz did not play in the game.

Three days of enjoyment. Three great days for baseball, even with those awful uniforms. Even in a losing season, three Rangers represented the American League as they won their eighth straight All-Star Game over the National League.

But these three days, as fun as they were, may have just been a temporary escape from reality.

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The Texas Rangers continued a busy Sunday, only this time they bolstered their starting rotation.

Now it's back to business. As important as this year's draft was for the Rangers, this trade deadline may be just as important. There are a lot of variables to consider. Most importantly, the Rangers are in a rebuild and need to cash in on everything they have to acquire more controllable assets.

That means potentially two of the team's three representatives in the All-Star Game might not be wearing a Rangers uniform come July 31.

Just to get it out of the way, Adolis García isn't going anywhere. He's breaking out in his first full season in the big leagues and the Rangers have control over him through 2026. He's not going anywhere.

As for Kyle Gibson, while nothing is guaranteed, it would be quite a shock if he remains in Texas. He is 33 years old and only has one more year left on his team-friendly contract. Gibson is also having a career year and is on pace to be one of the finalists for the AL Cy Young award. The Rangers would be foolish to not make every effort to capitalize on Gibson's increased value.

The real question comes down to Joey Gallo. While he's a polarizing player to those who still value batting average above all other stats, Gallo might be the most sought after player in this year's trade deadline. He's an impact bat that gets on base at a very high clip coupled with Gold Glove defense in right field and can play all three outfield positions if needed.

In addition, Gallo is as hot as he's ever been before. Since June 1, Gallo is slashing .280/.459/.740/1.199 with 15 homers and 27 RBI. His 33 walks and 35 strikeouts are also a much better ratio than over his career averages. Same as with Gibson, the Rangers would be remiss to not try and squeeze every valuable prospect they can out of potential suitors for Gallo — in a seller's market to boot.

However, it could be a PR nightmare if the Rangers trade away such a valuable piece. If the Rangers truly believe they can compete in 2023, Gallo is an established player that could be a key part of the core the club builds around. With his club control up after the 2022 season, a contract extension would be required. And Gallo's agent is Scott Boras, which means the Rangers will have to overpay to keep him in a Rangers uniform if they stand pat over the next 16 days.

In reality, clubs have to overpay for free agents anyway. With Gallo, he's fervently expressed a desire to remain a Texas Ranger. Not that a hometown discount would be expected, but Gallo might be willing to take a few bucks less to stay where he truly wants to be. So, why not keep an established guy that might not cost as much as another free agent, who also exemplifies what the franchise stands for and is proud to put on the Rangers uniform.

Yes, All-Star week was a wonderful escape. But the next couple of weeks could drastically alter the way fans remember it.

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