The Texas Rangers became the first team in the majors to reach 50 wins last night. The Rangers have been an offensive juggernaut this season on the diamond, scoring with proficiency as evidenced by the +102 scoring differential, the best in the majors. Leading in virtually every offensive category, the Rangers also possess the best home record in the majors at 27-14.
The Rangers are first in runs scored (426), first in team batting average (.284), first in on base percentage (.346) and first in slugging percentage (.461). In their 50 wins, Texas has scored seven or more runs, 23 times. Very impressive. You would think that the Rangers would be content to cruise into post season play with the current roster of two starting pitchers with at least 10 wins nearing the All-Star break and an offense which seemingly can score at will. Not so fast.
Although advancing to the World Series in each of the last two seasons, the Texas Rangers have no championship to show for their efforts. Texas was outed by the San Francisco Giants in five games in 2010 and by the St. Louis Cardinals in six games last season. It appears that the Rangers might be willing to double down and put their foot on the gas in order to finally bring home a championship this season.
According to Fox Sports, the Rangers are currently scouting both SP Zack Greinke of the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies starter, Cole Hamels. The Fox Sports report reveals that the Rangers were scouting Brewers pitcher Greinke last Wednesday night during his start. Both Greinke and Hamels are in the last year of their contract. The Brewers might try to reach a deal with Greinke prior to the end of the trade deadline but the recent trade of Jim Thome by the Philadelphia Phillies, might suggest they are in fire sale mode at 10 games out of first place.
The perceived sticking point in a trade for Hamels from the Phillies is that Philadelphia is likely going to want Texas’ top prospect at third base in return. Philadelphia is going to need a replacement at third next season and could very well be eying Rangers prospect, Mike Olt. Olt appears ready for the majors, but is currently blocked by the strong play of 33-year old Adrian Beltre. Beltre has shown no signs of slowing down this season and can likely post season ending numbers which will rival his 2011 season with the Rangers (32/105/.296).Beltre is currently signed through the 2016 season. Olt is stuck in the minors and is currently 24.
Also what needs to be factored into the discussions about what the Rangers plan to do before the trade deadline is the future of OF Josh Hamilton. Hamilton will be a free agent after this season and while he has injury issues and a cloudy past, he is on pace for 51 home runs and 150 RBIs this season. Regardless of his past, he is going to command a monster contract next season and some team will be willing to take the risk if he posts those numbers. The Rangers could be unable to retain him after this season and those kind of production numbers will be difficult to replace.
Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports reports that he has heard Texas Rangers G.M. Jon Daniels “is not messing around” as we head towards the July 31st trade deadline.
I would suggest that the Rangers pull out all the stops in order to acquire Hamels. 3B Mike Olt is a prospect. Yes, you like to have deep farm systems, but the opportunity to win a World Series does not present it self all the time. Trade Olt and rent Hamels for the remainder of this year. Hamels is 10-4 with a 3.08 ERA this season. He has 12 quality starts in 16 games started and has recorded a strike per inning pitched this year.
The offensive production of the Texas Rangers coupled with a three man pitching rotation of Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison and Cole Hamels all capable of posting a 20-win season this year, makes the Rangers the clear cut favorite to win the 2012 World Series.