The Rangers financial woes shouldn't hurt them in 2009

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I’ve made a lot recently
about the Rangers’ financial troubles. In light of them, my first
thought was what a shame it would be if those troubles prevented the
Rangers from making the sorts of moves they’ll need to make to stay in
the NL AL West race this season (sorry; I didn’t get much sleep last night). Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News makes a good point about that, however:

I think it’s pretty obvious, however, that with so much having been
made of this team’s No. 1-ranked farm system and an all-but-established
target of 2010 as the time to pursue the playoffs, the Rangers won’t be
big players at the trade deadline.

If help comes, it could be from the bats of Josh Hamilton, finishing
his rehab in Oklahoma, or top hitting prospect Justin Smoak, just
promoted to Triple-A from Frisco.

If there is bullpen help to be found, it could be top pitching
prospect Neftali Feliz, recently moved out of the rotation, carrying
the kind of role Tampa Bay’s starter Saturday night, former No. 1
overall pick David Price, performed for the Rays last September and
October.

Behold the power of a strong farm system. Also behold the weakness of
not living on the west coast: the first place Rangers and Angels face
off in a three game series this week — with Josh Hamilton back in tow for Texas — but most of us back east won’t get to see it due to the late hour. Sigh.

Watch: Mike Trout ties MLB record with his 25th home run

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It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:

In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.

Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.

Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.

Blue Jays acquire Tom Koehler from Marlins

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The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.

The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.

Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.