W2W4: Trades, White Sox
The Chicago White Sox come to town for a three-game series with the trade deadline as a backdrop. And like the Rangers, the White Sox wouldn't mind a top-flight pitcher down the stretch. But the series features a couple of division leaders. That should be fun. A few things to watch this weekend:
* Zack Greinke deadline. The trade deadline may come in two parts. The first is the Greinke deadline. He's slated to start Sunday for the Milwaukee Brewers, but it would be a surprise if he makes another start in a Brewers uniform. The Rangers need a starting pitcher and they have the pieces in the farm system to get Greinke. But how much are they willing to give up for a two-month rental?
* Win now vs. long-term plan or both? One thing to remember is the Rangers have always done a good job of finding a way to improve the club the last few years without sacrificing too much of their future. That's still their thinking now. The right deal at the deadline would allow them to bolster the club for a run this year without handcuffing their winning window down the line. That could mean trading for a big piece -- a starting pitcher or even a bat -- that is under club control for a few years or obtaining a rental-type player without giving up too many of their upper-level prospects. So stay tuned.
* It's likely that Matt Garza comes off the list of possibilities. Reports out of Chicago, including this one on ESPNChicago.com, say that he won't make his next start until after the deadline after an MRI revealed fluid buildup in his triceps area. That has to make a trade highly unlikely.
* James Shields could still make sense, if the Tampa Bay Rays would part with him. But Shields isn't that big-name, top-of-the-rotation guy like Greinke. Still, he was third in the Cy Young voting last year and is under club control for a few more years. But he isn't pitching as well this season as he did in 2011.
* Yu Darvish takes the mound tonight. As the season continues to progress here, the scoreboard watching will increase and the tension may build. It's going to be interesting to see how Darvish, who is still a rookie in the big leagues, handles it.
* Mike Napoli has been swinging the bat better. Is this the time when he gets it going? He's 6-for-16 in his last five games.
* Josh Hamilton. We know all about his struggles -- he's hitting just .154 in July. But he's 8-for-19 with two homers against the White Sox this season. We'll see if that helps get him going.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss a hypothetical Jurickson Profar for Cliff Lee trade, how he would handle Profar's playing time with the Rangers and more.
Play Podcast Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus joins Galloway & Company to discuss having Scott Boras as his agent, his new contract and having Jurickson Profar in the lineup.
Play Podcast Rangers manager Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss Yu Darvish's pitch count and how he spends time in the clubhouse during weather delays.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company for his weekly visit to discuss the latest Rangers news.
Play Podcast Reid Ryan joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his new position with the Houston Astros and whether he could see his dad, Nolan, joining him there in the future.
Play Podcast ESPN MLB Insider Jayson Stark joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss if the Rangers are the best team in baseball, what makes them so good and if he thinks the team will trade Jurickson Profar.
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Ron Washington's decision to send Yu Darvish to the mound for the eighth inning Thursday night and how he would handle a situation like that if he were still a GM.
Play Podcast Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley and Glenn "Stretch" Smith discuss the latest Rangers news, including the Yu Darvish-Justin Verlander matchup.