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Yankees potential trade partner: Texas Rangers

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We’ve heard a lot about Cole Hamels, but what about the rest of the Rangers?

MLB: Texas Rangers at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

As the trade deadline approaches, MLB teams increasingly find themselves divided into buyers and sellers. However, for some teams it was already clear as to which camp they would be in.

The Yankees, deemed a playoff contender even before the start of the season, were always going to be buyers. On the other hand, the Texas Rangers, with their promising but not-quite-there-yet core, nonexistent depth, and wreck of a rotation, were always going to be sellers. With both teams sure about their deadline strategies, then, the only remaining question is this: how well do the Yankees and Rangers match up?

Any trade rumors between the Yankees and Rangers have involved one particular name - Cole Hamels. However, Hamels deserves his own post, which Pinstripe Alley will be providing in a few days’ time. Instead, this post will take a glance at the non-Hamels members of the Rangers to see if there is anyone that could be of value to the Yankees.

It’s no secret that the Yankees are short on pitching, which is why they were rumored to be interested in Hamels in the first place. However, a different Ranger could also help in that regard. That Ranger is Mike Minor.

Minor, a 30-year old left-handed pitcher, was a solid but unspectacular back-of-the-rotation starter from 2011 to 2014. Then, as is often the case with pitchers, Minor’s body broke down. After missing the entire 2015 season, Minor joined the Kansas City Royals on a minor league contract, and remained in the minors for the whole year.

And that was all she wrote for Minor - except it wasn’t. The Royals moved Minor to the bullpen, and there he thrived, posting a 2.55 ERA (2.62 FIP) and 10.20 K/9 in 77.2 innings. His average fastball velocity reached 95 MPH, besting his previous high by more than 3 MPH. As a wise man once said, you can’t predict baseball.

Following that renaissance season, the Rangers signed Minor to a three-year, 28 million dollar deal. Despite his success as a reliever, Minor has returned to a starting role, pitching to an adequate 4.56 ERA (4.40 FIP) in 17 starts. Alongside Hamels, he has been one of the Rangers’ most dependable starters.

Minor isn’t somebody that the Yankees would like to start in the postseason, but he could help them avoid the dreaded Wild Card game. His 105 ERA- would be an upgrade over Domingo German (130 ERA-), and in a tight division race like the one the Yankees find themselves in, having a competent fifth starter could make all the difference.

The ideal scenario, however, is the one in which the Yankees are able to convince Minor to return to the bullpen. Especially in light of Aroldis Chapman’s knee tendinitis, the Yankees could use a solid left-handed reliever to complement their righty-heavy staff. Minor, if he can recapture his 2017 form, would be the perfect fit.

The rest of the Texas team is uninspiring when it comes to potential trade targets. Jose Leclerc and Keone Kela are good, young relievers, but the Rangers would probably like to hold on to them. On the position player side, the Yankees have very few needs anyway, and they could probably do better for a backup catcher than the Rangers’ Robinson Chirinos.

However, Mike Minor represents a potential upgrade from what the Yankees currently have, both in the rotation and in the bullpen. His presence, along with Cole Hamels, makes the Texas Rangers an interesting potential trade partner for the Yankees.

All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.com.