The Texas Rangers, who’s pitching staff has been depleted by injuries, brought in some reinforcement as they acquired a starting pitcher and reliever from the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday afternoon.
Less than two months ago Lucas Harrell and Dario Alvarez were not even on a major league roster. Now, after being traded from Atlanta, they find themselves in the thick of a pennant race. Harrell and Alvarez were sent from Atlanta to Texas in return for power-hitting second base prospect Travis Demeritte.
Harrell, who last pitched in the big leagues in 2014, had a 4.93 ERA last year while pitching in Korea. He was just signed by the Braves on May 21 and in a shade over 29 innings he has turned in a 3.38 era with 21 strikeouts. Harrell has logged at least six innings in four of his five starts for the Braves, including his most recent start which he twirled six shutout frames against the Minnesota Twins. He will immediately slot into the starting rotation for the Rangers as they look to fend off the hard charging Houston Astros.
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The second piece heading to Texas is left-handed reliever Dario Alvarez. Atlanta signed Alvarez in late May after he was removed from the New York Mets 40-man roster. He has made a remarkable turnaround with the Braves after he posted a 9.98 ERA earlier this year for the Mets Triple-A affiliate Las Vegas. Alvarez has been absolutely remarkable since being called up by the Braves. He has struck out 28 batters in just 15 innings, with an era of 3.00. Alvarez will give Rangers manager Jeff Bannister another left-handed option out of the bullpen for crucial late game situations.
Texas paid a fairly significant price to bolster their pitching staff as they had to give up their 2013 first round draft pick in Demeritte. A Futures Game selection this season, has hit .272 with 25 home runs in High-A. One fairly significant ding on his resume is an 80 game suspension in 2015 for PED’s. Demeritte, who went to high school in Georgia, will immediately rank among the best power hitters in the Braves farm system.
As with all trades, it’s too soon to determine who won this trade. On the surface, the Rangers received immediate pitching help, which they hope will lead them into the postseason. The Braves, on the other hand, have to be quite pleased as they essentially turned two players they signed off the street into a power-hitting infield prospect. As the trade deadline rapidly approaches it’s likely both teams will continue to be active, albeit for two vastly different reasons.