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 Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.