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quick takeaways from the Rangers’ trading deadline flurry of activity that brought them Carlos Beltran, Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress in the final hour Monday:
1. The Rangers may now have the best lineup in the American League. An MLB Network graphic suggested Beltran, a switch hitter, will go into the No. 5 spot behind Adrian Beltre and that Lucroy would drop into the No. 7 spot. In that scenario, it has team home run leader Rougned Odor hitting eighth and Elvis Andrus, batting .290, hitting ninth. The lineup does not include Shin Soo Choo, who is on the DL. It’s a ridiculously strong lineup, reminiscent of the late 1990s teams.
2. Another thing about those late 1990s teams: They were short on starting pitching, which is why they did not win a series and went 1 9 in three playoff matchups. The Rangers’ chief priority going into the trading period was starting pitching. The Rangers did not genuinely address that, unless you include Lucas Harrell, who seemed more like an emergency fill in more than anything else. Should the Rangers reach the playoffs, their 1 2 combination of Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish will be as formidable as any team’s, but they will go into matchups in Games 3 and 4 as the pitching underdog.
3. Speaking of starting pitching, the Rangers once again borrowed from the future to pay for the present, sending their top draft choices from the 2014 and 2015 drafts away in the deals. Luis Ortiz, the 2014 top pick, was considered the most advanced pitching prospect in the organization and a contender for the 2017 rotation. By not adding a controllable starting pitcher, the Rangers set themselves up to once again by in the same predicament they’ve encountered this year a shortage of starting pitching.
4. It also raises some questions about evaluation. Dillon Tate, the 2015 first rounder sent to New York in the Beltran deal, was having to rework his delivery at Class A. The Rangers took Tate with the No. 4 pick in last year’s draft ahead of Vanderbilt’s Carson Fullmer. Big and lanky, Tate has a lot of moving parts to his delivery and has not been able to control the ball this year. Fullmer, meanwhile, has reached the major leagues with the Chicago White Sox. He’s allowed eight runs in five innings since the All Star break.
5. There is no doubt the Rangers have improved the club and for a second straight year, they’ve managed to do so without including Jurickson Profar or Joey Gallo in a trade. Gallo undoubtedly will head back to Triple A when Beltran and Lucroy arrive, but he will be able to continue to work on making adjustments. Profar has re established his value. Either they will be parts of the 2017 team or the Rangers will use one or both to bolster the pitching staff this winter. They will need to explore the trade market because the free agent market is expected to be thin. Holding both players gives the Rangers a chance to dangle them if and when pitching prices for impact starters become more reasonable.