The Rangers’ farm system is pretty deep in certain areas. They have plenty of outfield prospects with Lewis Brinson, Nomar Mazara, Jairo Beras, Leody Taveras and Eric Jenkins all in the team’s top-10 list of prospects. Mazara has been raking the ball in spring training, and the 20-year-old left-handed hitter is almost ready for major league service. He would be nice for the Padres being that he is left-handed, but the Padres already have many outfield prospects with Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot, Travis Jankowski and Alex Dickerson all close to reaching the big leagues. A deal for one of the Rangers’ outfield prospects seems unlikely at this point. So where can the Rangers help the Padres for the services of Norris?
Not that Derek Norris is Bryce Harper, but he does have nice value and shouldn’t be dealt for anything less than a solid package. With three more years of service time in his prime years, his value is at its pinnacle right now. The closer teams get to Opening Day, the more desperate they become. Preller is wise to hold off, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see a trade right before the Padres open the season.
Some names to keep an eye on in the Rangers farm system are Andrew Faulkner and Yohander Mendez. Both are left-handed pitchers and the Padres seem to be collecting lefties in their farm system currently. Faulkner was scouted and signed by then Rangers area scout Chris Kemp who happens to now work for the San Diego Padres. Faulkner went 7-4 with a 3.86 ERA last season in 34 games (15 starts). The 23-year-old pitcher struck out 103 batters in 100.1 innings while walking 48. He has some control issues, but has a mid 90’s fastball with an average change up and a slider that is a work in progress.
Mendez is a 21-year-old Cuban national who signed with the Rangers in 2011. He is a tall (6′ 5″) left-handed pitcher with a great feel for pitching. He doesn’t overpower batters but has an excellent change up with deceptive arm motion. He throws strikes and has no problem attacking hitters early in counts. Mendez went 3-3 last season with a 2.44 ERA in 21 starts. The lefty struck out 74 batters while only walking 15 in 66.1 innings pitched. With some refinement he could be a mid rotation starter in the big leagues or a viable relief option. Neither pitcher by themselves or even packaged together are worth Derek Norris, but it gives you an idea of players the Padres could be potentially targeting.
There is one huge prospect whom the Padres could surely use and love to attain from the Rangers, but Texas is in no rush to deal him. Joey Gallo is exactly what the Padres need. A power hitting left-handed bat that can play the corner infield positions. Gallo has monstrous power and is basically major league ready. Problem is he is blocked by Adrian Beltre at third base, Mitch Moreland at first base, and Prince Fielder at DH. Fielder is signed long-term and not going anywhere, while Beltre and the Rangers are discussing a contract extension. Gallo is destined to start the season in Triple-A, or he could play a bit of first base and outfield.
What in the world would it take for the Rangers to deal Gallo? Norris would be nice, but he would only be an appetizer for what the Rangers would command for Gallo. Tyson Ross would probably be the answer. The Rangers have a need for a pitcher with Yu Darvish recovering from Tommy John surgery. Darvish should be back in May or June but the Rangers have an obvious need in the rotation. Ross would be great for the Rangers but is trading Ross and Norris worth a deal for Joey Gallo?
Yes, Gallo is a monster. He is a prospect though, and not a given to succeed at the next level. He slammed 23 home runs last year in the minors in 321 at-bats, but he also struck out 139 times. At 22 he is young enough to make adjustments and be successful, but he clearly has work to do with refining his game. Could the two teams pull off a mega deal that helps both teams?
It just doesn’t seem likely that a Gallo for Ross deal would happen. The Rangers very much want to see Gallo blossom and there is no way he would be dealt for anything less than a monster package of players. Even then the team would be really hesitant to deal Gallo. Ross and Norris would provide immediate help, but Gallo could easily outperform the duo over time.
Jurickson Profar makes an interesting option. All though the Padres already have Alexei Ramirez at shortstop. Profar missed the last two seasons with shoulder issues, but seems alright now. He hit well in the Arizona Fall League and is also swinging well this spring. Most importantly he is playing the field and seems like his shoulder has healed up nicely. Profar is blocked by Rougned Odor and Elvis Andrus in the middle infield and the Rangers even have Ian Desmond as an option at shortstop.
The chances of Profar being dealt are very high. The Rangers have to get maximum worth for him though. Slowly he is building his value up. A Profar-for-Norris deal makes sense for both teams, but it’s tough to pull off a simple one for one deal like that. Profar’s injury issues are always going to be a concern until he plays a couple of seasons with no issues. Despite the potential hangups, there is something to these two teams and a match on a potential deal. A key injury somewhere for either team could spark a deal very easily. Right now both teams are feeling out exactly what they have going into the season. Towards the end of Spring Training some deals will happen, keep an eye on these two teams because they match up fairly well for a potential deal. A.J. Preller is on the prowl and the Padres catching situation dictates a deal will happen eventually.