Major League Baseball's annual trade deadline is sooner than usual. It was moved up by one day on the calendar to avoid possible conflict with afternoon games on Saturday, July 31, where teams might be put in situations where they might have to play short-handed or risk injury to players.
Friday, July 30, at 3 p.m. CT time is this year's deadline for teams to either improve their rosters or unload existing talent for prospects to build for the future.
Regardless of when it happens, MLB's trade deadline is fun for fans. Weeks of speculation and rumors come to a head, and fans see if their team is a buyer or a seller in the trade market.
The Rangers will most likely be sellers this season. At 35-55, the team is 19.5 games out of first place in the West and 16 games back of a wildcard spot. But which current players might garner the most interest in "buying" clubs?
Let's look at the current Rangers who are most likely to be traded at the deadline:
Pitchers are always at a premium during trade talks, and it's no different for the Rangers. Maybe the most likely piece to be traded is Kyle Gibson, who's having a stellar year. After a horrible opening-day start, he's rattled off 16 straight starts that's seen him post a 1.86 ERA and amass more strikeouts, with 87, than hits allowed, with 74. All of that in 101 innings.
Gibson has one season at $8 million remaining on his contract, so the Rangers should be asking for a lot in return.
Joey Gallo has been a fan favorite seemingly since arriving at the big leagues, and he's currently one of, if not the hottest hitter in major league baseball. 2021 has been his best season thanks to a 32-game stretch that saw him hit .280/.459/.740 with 15 home runs and almost as many walks, with 33, as strikeouts, with 35.
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Gallo has one more season of team control, and if the Rangers decide now is the time to cash in on Gallo, they could get a ton in return. However, with a new ballpark and zero guaranteed contracts on the books after next season, they may decide it's worth keeping the current face of the franchise just a little longer.
Is anyone aware that Ian Kennedy has the fifth-most Wins Above Replacement among 2006 first-round picks? That's only behind names like Kershaw, Scherzer, Longoria, and Lincecum. No, Kennedy isn't on the same level as those superstars, but that stat is impressive.
Kennedy has quietly reinvented himself into a hardball throwing closer. He's one of only six pitchers to use his fastball more than 80-percent of the time. That could be attractive to a team that thinks they're in contention but need to add a closer or back-end bullpen guy.
Joley Rodriguez might no be a household name like some others on this list, but he could certainly fill a roll post-trade deadline for a team needing left-handed help.
Despite an ERA of 5.84, Rodriguez has a couple of specific things going for him right now: 'Swings and misses' and ground balls. He uses his sinker and changeup more than 80-percent of the time, and batters don't seem to be able to lift the ball against him, resulting in a groundball rate of 69.7-percent.
Rodriguez's contract includes a $3 million club option for next season, so he won't be viewed by possible trade partners as a short-term rental.
The Rangers have trade pieces. Of course, this list doesn't mean they're the only ones that could be traded, just the ones we see most likely right now.
Pay attention as this year's trade deadline approaches as we see which direction general manager Chris Young and company go, as they build for the Rangers' future.
CONTINUE READING: Trade Rumors: Yankees & Padres 'Have Eyes' On Texas Rangers' Joey Gallo
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