Texas Rangers land one of the big four from the Yu Darvish trade

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images /

The Texas Rangers have sent pitcher Yu Darvish to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Willie Calhoun, A.J. Alexy and Brendon Davis.

As the 2017 MLB trade deadline approached for the Texas Rangers, their collision course for a trade seemed to line up perfectly with the Los Angeles Dodgers. As those talks heated up, four names kept surfacing from the Dodgers farm system as potential trade targets. As the dust settles, Los Angeles got their guy and the Rangers have one of those guys now.

Per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, Texas has picked up second baseman Willie Calhoun, right-handed pitcher A.J. Alexy and infielder Brendon Davis. At first glance, Calhoun is the biggest name amongst those players. Don’t just look at the names, though. Each guy has something big to offer.

Willie Calhoun

Several reports named Calhoun as one of the biggest targets for the Rangers, with good reason. Texas already has Rougned Odor playing second at the big league level, but Calhoun does offer some flexibility. He’s not exclusively a second baseman and has played in the left field this season at AAA Oklahoma City.

He’s showcased his bat quite well this season by batting .298 with 23 home runs and 67 RBI. What Texas Rangers fans will ultimately get excited about though, is that he doesn’t strike out too often. In 373 at bats, he’s struck out just 49 times. Last season, he finished second in the Texas League in strikeout rate, averaging one every 8.6 at bats.

The biggest downside to his game comes from his defense. Most scouts feel his arm and range are average-to-below average. But with a move to left field, that can be hidden easily and will maximize what he can do with the bat. Plus, rumor has it that he’ll be ready to play at the major league level as early as next season.

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A.J. Alexy

While most will talk about what the Rangers get with Calhoun, Alexy may be the sleeper guy in this trade. Alexy stands at 6 feet, 4 inches tall and has a fantastic curveball. He features a fastball that ranges from 89-93 MPH, and some believe he could bulk up more to add power. The following is listed on his MLB.com scouting report:

"He has a quick arm and his pitches should continue to improve as he gets stronger and refines his delivery. Club officials praise his competitive nature."

That last sentence should excite everyone more than anything else. He’s a baller. The Rangers need more warrior-type guys to go out and absolutely own the mound. His tall frame and competitive edge alone make him a desirable player. With a good pitching coach (which, let’s be honest — is likely what worries most Rangers fans) he could become a front of the rotation guy.

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Brendon Davis

Like Alexy, Davis also sits at six foot, four. But, he’s more of the wild card in this deal. He’s “low floor, high ceiling” guy that will either flop majorly or become a star. What the Rangers have working for them about Davis, is that he has a big bat.

The biggest knock on Davis is that he needs to work on his defense. He’s naturally played at second in the early part of his baseball life. But some scouts believe that putting him at third will utilize him best.

Say what you want about future hall of famer in Adrian Beltre, but there will be a need at the hot corner in the future. Granted, it may be another five years before Beltre retires, but having someone like Davis to step in would be a huge luxury.

Davis offers excellent bat speed and the raw talent to hit well. But, he strikes out a lot and needs to bulk up some in order to add power.  He has the frame to move from more of a slap hitting style to becoming a heavy hitter. But, the tricky part will be finding a balance between his bat speed and muscle. Too much either way could mess things up and ruin his potential.

Final take

The instinct from this trade will cause most of us to look with very little feeling one way or the other. At the end of the day, the Rangers didn’t get any of the top three guys on their list for Darvish. Some will say Texas Ranger General Manager Jon Daniels blinked first and caved. But that may not be fully determined until next season.

Next: Best-case scenario for trading Darvish

There still stands a chance that Darvish comes back to Texas as a free agent. His wife loves it here and that could be a major influence for him. Plus, he loves the team and the franchise. But even if that doesn’t happen, we have to give these guys some time to show what they’ll do. It’s highly likely this season was over already, so getting at least a little something for Yu before he walks is a wise move. But having said that, we will all miss him.