A day after acquiring Max Scherzer, the Rangers bring in two more pitchers. One starter, one reliever.
Texas gets lefty starter Jordan Montgomery and righty reliever Chris Stratton from the Cardinals for two prospects—pitcher Tekoah Roby and infielder Thomas Saggese—and one failure—reliever John King.
They desperately needed the starter, having lost their number one starter Jacob deGrom after only a handful of starts, and now their number two starter Nathan Eovaldi. He was put on the fifteen-day IL retroactive to July 27, meaning the earliest he can be available for the Rangers is Saturday, August 12. Anyone who thinks Eovaldi will be back Saturday, August 12, or any time in August, is fooling him or herself.
It’s a right forearm strain. Here’s a guy who has pitched twelve innings in the last twenty five days. This isn’t a recent problem. Not at all. That’s what makes this so frustrating. If you were a betting man, you might make a lot of money on Eovaldi being done for the season.
Which make their rotation now: Max Scherzer, Dane Dunning, Jordan Montgomery, Jon Gray, and pray for rain. Pray they find one more starter so they never have to give a start to Martin Perez or Andrew Heaney ever again. Chad Bradford has been better than either of those two.
Jordan Montgomery is a thirty-year-old lefthanded starter who has pitched to a good 3.42 ERA this season in twenty-one starts. With Eovaldi out, that puts Montgomery’s as the second-best ERA on the staff, after Dunning’s 3.28.
Chris Stratton is a thirty-two-year-old righthanded relief pitcher with eight years of major league service, having pitched for the Giants, Angels, Pirates, and Cardinals. He’s not a world beater. But if he has a pulse and the ability to get at least one major league hitter out, he is a vast improvement in the Rangers putrid bullpen.
Even if he turns out to be horrible, he’s a new horrible. But he cannot be worse than anything the Rangers have outside of Will Smith and Aroldis Chapman.
There are still two days left until the trade deadline. If they want to seriously make a run for the division championship, Texas needs another quality starter to replace Perez/Heaney, a top-of-the-line closer, so Smith and Chapman can be their seventh- and eighth-inning guys. And one more bat to replace Jonah Heim’s production that is probably lost for the season.
What the Rangers are finding out after six years of Jon Daniels induced horribleness is: staying good is so much harder than staying bad.