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Friday newsletter time: Trade could help Rangers bolster, juggle roster

(AP photo/Mark J. Terrill)



As general manager Chris Young said on Wednesday, the Rangers are ready to move in a variety of ways.

If Free Agent A goes to another club, the Rangers move to Free Agent B. If a trade proves to be a better option, the Rangers believe they have potential partners on the hook.

A trade might be a necessity.

The Rangers have 37 spots on the 40-man roster. Two more spots will come open at the start of spring training, when right-handers Jacob deGrom and Carson Coleman can hit the 60-day injured list.

But three spots likely won’t get the Rangers through the offseason. They can always designate players for assignment to create a spot, or they can trade 40-man players to clear room and also at least get something when opening a roster spot.

A trade for a proven starting pitcher like Corbin Burnes, Tyler Glasnow or Dylan Cease could require young MLB-ready talent and prospects on the 40-man roster, which could create multiple 40-man spots. The Rangers would prefer to not lose any pitchers, but might need to move a prospect to help facilitate a deal.

Ezequiel Duran could be a big chip in a trade, though the Rangers could also find use for him. They need a designated hitter and an infielder who can play multiple spots. Duran some outfield. Josh Smith can do those things, too, though his lack of power makes him a less likely candidate at DH.

Finances are thought to a concern depending on the length of a deal, even Young said that the Rangers’ payroll could go over last season’s total of $251 million. Theoretically, a trade would help keep the payroll down more than, say, signing free agents like Blake Snell or Jordan Montgomery.

There are fewer pitchers available via trade but with the same amount of teams vying with the Rangers for the players.

Like everything else in regards to the pitching market, trades are on hold until the long-awaited Shohei Ohtani decision.

Let’s go already.

Toying around

Jon Gray wore a green turtle neck sweater with white reindeer and red snowflakes. As host of the Texas Rangers Toy Drive, he knew he needed to be in the spirit Thursday at Globe Life Field.

He and some fellow Rangers players, coaches and broadcasters signed autographs until their hands cramped for a large group of fans who donated toys to help benefit Mission Arlington Mission Metroplex.

“Christmas is really special to us,” said Gray, who was with his wife, Jacklyn. “This really helps out a lot of families in the community.”

The toy drive came some three weeks after Gray was in Washington, D.C., to receive the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award for his worked with veterans and their families. He said that rubbing shoulders with military in D.C. and listening to their speeches was quite an experience.

“I felt so out of place being this long-haired dude around these guys with their miliary suits on,” he said. “But it was amazing.”

Card of the Week

The newest addition to the Rangers’ bullpen is right-hander Kirby Yates, a native of Hawaii who in 2019 saved 41 games for the Padres and looked to be a future star at closer.

The COVID happened, and Tommy John surgery followed in 2021. Yates had a nice season in 2023 for the Braves before they were ousted early in the National League postseason.

He might get some save chances with the Rangers on his one-year, $4.5 million deal, but his primary duty likely will be to work in high-leverage situations while providing a veteran’s mentorship to what figures to be a young bullpen.

Yates is a youngin in a fun Card of the Week, the 2015 Choice Kirby Yates card. 

Yates was drafted out of high school by the Red Sox but went to college. He wasn’t draft again and signed in 2009 with the Rays.

The Rays’ Triple A affiliate has been Durham for several years. The Bulls were made famous by the movie Bull Durham, which is Rangers Today’s favorite baseball movie.

He’s been well-traveled after making his MLB debut in 2014. Stints with the Yankees, Angels, Padres and Braves followed.

Yates turns 37 on March 25, three days before Opening Day. The Rangers might be his last opportunity to win a championship and pitching in meaningful games.

If he performs well enough, the Rangers would probably be happy to have him back in 2025, when Leclerc hits free agency for the first time.

Doggy video!

The cherry tomato is the worst of the tomatoes. Good girl hiding them from her owners. Enjoy.

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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