Texas Rangers Trade Deadline Recap/Report Card

By: Nicholas Gilanfar

The dog days of summer are no more, the Texas Rangers are here to compete in August. For the first time since 2016, the Texas Rangers are playoff hopefuls as they currently stand at a record of 60-46 sitting atop the American League West sitting 0.5 games ahead of the Houston Astros.  

Over this past week, the Texas Rangers have cemented themselves as significant buyers, with the goal of bolstering their chances to win the franchise’s first world series. 1st year General Manager Chris Young overwhelmingly won the fans over this past deadline as he approached it with an aggressive mindset, something we have rarely seen in DFW sports.  

The Rangers solely focused on improving the starting rotation, finding a right-handed reliever that can handle late-inning situations as well as a veteran catcher that can fill the void of All-Star Catcher Jonah Heim who is battling a wrist injury with no timetable of return. 

Trades made by the Texas Rangers 

Max Scherzer Trade

TEX Receives: RHP Max Scherzer 

NYM Receives 2B/SS Luisangel Acuna (#3 Prospect) 

 Jordan Montgomery Trade

TEX Receives: LHP Jordan Montgomery, RHP Chris Stratton 

STL Receives: RHP Tekoah Roby (#11 Prospect), SS Thomas Saggese (#14 Prospect),  

LHP John King 

Austin Hedges Trade

TEX Receives: C Austin Hedges 

PIT Receives: Cash Considerations 

Trade Deadline Report Card 

RHP Max Scherzer: A 

Photo via Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Max Scherzer at age 39, has cemented his legacy as one of the most prominent pitchers in this decade posting a career 210-106, 3.15 ERA with 3307 Strikeouts. He is an 8-time all-star, a world series champion with the Washington Nationals, and a three-time Cy Young award winner. Despite his career nearing a close due to age, he is still the Scherzer that baseball fans around the world know and love. In 2021, Scherzer started the season with the Washington Nationals and ended the season with the Los Angeles Dodgers pending free agency.

During that offseason, Scherzer decided to leave LA and sign a record-breaking 3 years/$130,000,000 with the New York Mets after posting a 15-4 Record with a 2.46 ERA. Over the past two seasons, the Mets have had the highest payroll despite underwhelming efforts in the 2023 season sitting at a record of 50-56. Because of so, Scherzer was shipped off to Texas for #3 Prospect Luisangel Acuna, brother of Atlanta Braves superstar OF Ronald Acuna. 

This season Scherzer holds a record of 9-4, 4.01 ERA, and 121 strikeouts as he has taken a step back this late in his career but not enough for teams to deny his services for the price to pay. This move to the Texas Rangers will create familiarity for Scherzer as he reunites with Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux. Maddux is the former pitching coach of the Washington Nationals and coached Scherzer through 2 cy young award-winning seasons. 

When talking about his strengths this season, his slider is as still sharp as ever which is not a surprise because it has always been deemed as unhittable. He also thrives on throwing strikeouts outside the zone, he will be spoiled when C Jonah Heim returns from injury because he has the elite ability for selling those pitches. Lastly, which is not a surprise, he is still capable of pitching in high-leverage situations and can escape from most jams on the bases 

As for his weaknesses, he has been a Major League pitcher since 2008 as he has developed his pitch pace, however, he has not adjusted well to the pitch clock so far and gets overwhelmed by escaping his original regime. As it is usual for a pitcher to lose the fire in their fastball, Scherzer’s has not been affected like we have been accustomed to this past decade as his cap is usually 94-96 MPH. 

On paper, it is nuts trading our #3 Prospect for a 39-year-old pitcher, but their 2B and SS will be locked up for at least the next five years with the acquisitions of SS Corey Seager and 2B Marcus Semien. It was always known that Acuna would not make his debut with the Texas Rangers. Acuna has a bright future in this league and has the potential to be a building block to the New York Mets likely being their future 2nd baseman lined up with New York Mets SS Fransisco Lindor 

 This was a brilliant trade by the front office, it encourages our struggling rotation and brings a pure winner to this ball club. This trade is an A, the deductions were given on age, but the Ranger brass made a splash, it will pay off with the goal of introducing a whole new spirit and passion for both the team and fan base showing this team that they can be a threat to the American League. 

LHP Jordan Montgomery: B+ 

Photo via Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Trade Deadline is familiar territory for LHP Jordan Montgomery as the former Yankee was sent to the St. Louis Cardinals last trade deadline and has now been traded again during the deadline for the 2nd consecutive year to the Texas Rangers. Just like the New York Mets, the St. Louis Cardinals were also optimistic about playoff contentions and built a great roster followed by an MVP season by 1B Paul Goldschmidt as well as the acquisition of 2022 all-star C Wilson Contreras from the Chicago Cubs.

Montgomery holds a career record of 34-32, 3.77 ERA with 647 SO, and has always had a positive reputation as being a staple in your team’s rotation. This year, he posted a record of 6-9 with a 3.42 ERA. Although he is pitching under .500, he is still having a prominent year despite the lack of run support given by the St. Louis Cardinals this season. 

Montgomery will fit in nicely with this ball club as his key strengths are that he controls his pitch clock and plays at the pace aligning with the pitch clock not letting the high-speed situations tweak his game. Another highlight is my favorite component of Montgomery’s game, which is his lethal changeup. The changeup is clearly his money ball as he can paint the corners and stunt the hitters from making contact capping off usually from 83-88 MPH. 

Some Weaknesses are that he does not abide by the fastball and will rarely try it as it caps off at 93 MPH, those pitches in his arsenal usually result to a Home Run or Foul Ball. Another thing that Montgomery has had a challenging time figuring out is his high walk rate. Right now, he has 35 walks, 1 less than he did all last season. His pitching stance is efficient but the “shoulder down” approach that he has can usually find pitches outside the zone. 

Another Great acquisition for the Texas Rangers, a B+ is appropriate. Montgomery is a pending free agent, and two top prospects for a rental is not ideal. Other than that, Montgomery is going to bring veteran presence towards the middle of the rotation and will motivate the back end of the rotation to stay on top of their game which has already gone into effect with past 5th option Andrew Heaney having a career game yesterday with 6 innings pitched, 0 earned runs and 11 strikeouts. This should wake up guys at the back end of the rotation that have been underperforming because when Nathan Eovaldi gets back from injury one of them will be sent to the bullpen. 

RHP Chris Stratton: A- 

Photo via Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Also coming from St. Louis comes RHP Chris Stratton posting a career record of 36-24, 12 svs, 4.50 ERA, and 482 Strikeouts. Stratton will hold as a reliever primarily in the 7th or 8th inning as he is known for performing well in high leverage situations as he has posted a 1-1 Record, 1 sv, 4.36 ERA, 59 SO. Lately, Texas has run a co-closer basis with LHP Will Smith and LHP Aroldis Chapman with those two holding the weight of the entire bullpen as it varies week by week through recalls. Stratton brings the club a Right-Handed reliever that can hold his end of the stick toward the end of the game which the Rangers really lacked with our best relievers being lefties. 

Strengths that Stratton will bring to the ball club are his patience with his pace, he’s not looking to throw pitch after pitch, his likes to spread the wealth on his pitches, and thoroughly analyze what pitch matches best against the desired hitter. Like Montgomery’s changeup, Stratton’s money ball is the curve ball, as he always looks to place the ball under the opponent’s bat which is something we need in high-leverage situations. Unlike the rest of the bullpen, he shows great composure in his command by limiting his walk rate this season as his WHIP stands at a 1.17. 

With the great Strengths of Stratton’s high-leverage abilities comes the weakness of second-guessing himself when he is not pitching well which results in a slippery slope for the remainder of the outing. That is the case with most relievers in the MLB, but Stratton has always had a tough time coming back from letting a couple of runs in. 

This trade receives an A-, which brings confidence to the bullpen to have an efficient righty in the back half of the bullpen creating a focal three-headed monster. Like Scherzer reuniting with his old pitching coach Mike Maddux, Stratton will reunite with Rangers Manager Bruce Bochy who is the former manager of the San Fransisco Giants where Stratton played 2016-2018. 

C Austin Hedges: B- 

Photo via AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

When losing your all-star C Jonah Heim to injury, reinforcements are always needed at every angle possible and that is what we did by acquiring C Austin Hedges from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Hedges has posted a career .189 AVG with 67 Home Runs as he is solely known for his game behind the plate.

This year Hedges is hitting .180 AVG with 1 home run as he was the starting Catcher for the Pirates this year. Last season Hedges was the starting catcher for the Cleveland Guardians and was a key piece to their playoff run due to his defensive abilities. 

Although Hedges’ offensive package is questioning his key strengths as a game manager, framing behind the plate. He will always find himself in key roles based on what he can do for your team defensively. C Jonah Heim is also known for calling a solid game for the pitchers and bringing comfort to their game, that is what Hedges is doing for the time being. Hedges’ Weaknesses are eye-popping, he is not a great hitter which could be a waste of a lineup spot from time to time with such a high-powered offense the Rangers have. 

Due to the offensive statistics, the trade is graded a B-, despite being a letdown at the plate he is still one of the better game callers out there and will hold a prominent role in the upcoming catcher rotation during Heim’s absence with C Mitch Garver and C Sam Huff. 

Featured Image via CBS Sports

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