Sitting in first place in the American League West and finding themselves squarely in the MLB playoff picture with the league’s trade deadline rapidly approaching, the Texas Rangers have begun to make moves to bolster their roster.
On Saturday, the team traded for three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer from the New York Mets, costing them Double-A shortstop Luisangel Acuna.
“Max’s pedigree as a future Hall of Fame pitcher and the winner that he is is a perfect fit for what we need right now, ” Executive Vice President and General Manager Chris Young said as he addressed the media before Sunday’s game. “I’ve always said that you can never have enough pitching, and to add someone of Max’s caliber is a great addition to our club… We landed a player that we felt like is going to help us get where we want to go this year.”
In addition to the three Cy Young Awards, Scherzer is an eight-time All-Star, a former World Series champion. He has the third-most career wins among active pitchers. He was in the second season of a three-year deal with the Mets, holding a 9-4 record.
“That addition — adding him not only for this rotation this year but also for next year — is a huge pickup by C.Y. and the guys,” starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi told the media. “He brings great experience. He’s accomplished everything. What he’s going to be able to do for the guys, the energy, you see the way he goes out there and competes on the mound and then that extra experience for the postseason as well.”
“We’ve got more guys that have experienced it and been through it, and the more guys you have with everything he’s been able to accomplish, the better it is for the whole rotation and the team itself.”
The team followed that trade with another on Sunday, acquiring starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery and reliever Chris Stratton from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for deliver John King, minor league infielder Thomas Saggese, and minor league pitcher Tekoah Roby.
“We had an opportunity to acquire another starting pitcher and a veteran reliever that we think will both help us,” Young told the media. “Jordan Montgomery is having a tremendous year. We felt like [he was] one of the better starters on the market. We felt like, given where we are, we needed to continue to upgrade our rotation. We addressed that, and Chris Stratton is going to slide into the bullpen.”
“I think that it’s going to take some of the pressure off the young guys that we’ve been depending on…We’re excited to get them both.”
Montgomery has put up one of the best seasons of his career statistically, but it has yet to translate to many wins this season as the Cardinals have struggled.
Stratton adds a reliable arm to a bullpen that has ranked among the worst in baseball for most of the season.
The Rangers’ need for pitching became apparent when ace Jacob deGrom was shut down for the year, and the two recent trades, along with acquiring veteran reliever Aroldis Chapman earlier this month, have significantly upgraded their pitching staff while maintaining one of the best offenses in baseball, strengthening their bid for the AL West championship as the season reaches its late stages.
“They’ve done a tremendous job of putting us in this position,” Young said. “We said coming into the season that we wanted to play meaningful games and compete for the postseason, and these guys have exceeded those expectations in terms of putting us in this position to go out and be aggressive and add to this club. We owe it to them to do that.”
Bochy told media members he expects Scherzer to make his team debut against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday afternoon, while there has been no announcement on when to expect Stratton or Montgomery to take the mound.
The 2023 MLB trade deadline is at 5 p.m. CT on Tuesday, and the Rangers will continue their season against the Chicago White Sox at 7:05 p.m. CT the same day.
— The Rangers have placed starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi on the 15-day Injured List with a right forearm strain and recalled pitcher Grant Anderson from Triple-A Round Rock.
— Texas has also designated deliver Joe Barlow for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster following its trades.
— The Los Angeles Angels have acquired outfielder Randal Grichuk and first baseman C.J. Cron from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for minor league pitchers Mason Albright and Jake Madden and cash.
— St. Louis has traded reliever Jordan Hicks to the Toronto Blue Jays for two minor leaguers, including Toronto’s 10th-best prospect.
— The Atlanta Braves have traded former Rangers reliever Taylor Hearn to the Kansas City Royals for infielder Nicky Lopez.