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Rangers and Astros Baseball — What Each Team Did at the 2021 Deadline

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Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Major League trading “deadline” arrived at 4:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, July 30th. It does not prevent teams from negotiating additional player swaps. It does, however, mandate that any player traded to another team must initially clear “waivers.” Thus, if Team A agrees with Team B for a trade involving Smith, the roster change may not sit well with Team C. So, Smith could be claimed in the process of returning to Team A with the deal canceled. It thus has evolved into an annual mid-late July ritual, with franchises attempting either to reload for the future or muscle up for a drive into the playoffs and beyond. This article takes a look at what the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros did — or did not do — leading up to the deadline.    

Rangers. The team has sunk deeper into last place in the AL West, so in keeping with an obvious prediction when last reviewed by this writer, it was a “seller” at the deadline. Widely speculated for weeks, the Rangers traded left-handed hitting outfielder Joey Gallo, age 27, to the New York Yankees.  In exchange for his 2021 season-to-date 25 home runs and 55 driven in, Texas acquires a pair of highly-rated infield prospects. Though held back a year in development by 2020 Covid lockdowns, both Josh Smith and Ezequiel Duran show unmistakable promise to anchor the Ranger’s middle infield for many years to come and each seems capable of being consistently useful at bats. Pitcher Glenn Otto and infielder Trevor Hauver were also shipped to the Rangers, who, in addition to Gallo, sent left-handed pitcher Joely Rodriquez Northward to the Bronx.  

Astros. Now as winners of 7 of 10 recent outings, powered by a blend of powerful hitting and strong pitching, Houston’s superb +151 run differential has it sitting firmly atop the AL West standings. With 105 games in the books, Houston owns the best overall American League record — good for a six (6) game advantage over 2nd Place Oakland. Led by General Manager James Click, the Astros Front Office nonetheless undertook some July moves. Avoiding the more celebrated names, Houston set out to bolster its relief pitching in the person of 28-year-old right-hander Phil Maton, acquired from  

Cleveland along with catching prospect Yanier Diaz. In 41 innings of work this season, Maton has recorded 61 strikeouts while issuing only 20 walks, leading to a passable 4.57 ERA. The fact that Click was willing to part with 26-year-old light-hitting Center Fielder Myles Straw is a statement of management confidence in existing outfield depth. Further anchoring the relief corps was an intra-division swap with the Seattle Mariners, Houston gaining the services of 30-year-old Kendall Graveman, who has really lit it up in 2021 with a minuscule 0.81 ERA. En route to the Mariners are 37-year-old right-handed Reliever Joe Smith, accompanied there by reserve 24-year-old Infielder Abraham Toro.  

 

 

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