Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Rangers have sent several scouts to observe Braves pitching prospect Luiz Gohara. The Braves appear to have similar interest in relievers Keone Kela and Jake Diekman (and, to a lesser extent, Adrian Beltre), though a deal doesn’t appear to be in the works just yet — and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal hears that they may be more interested in swapping for a starter with several years of control, rather than a package deal for more bullpen assistance.
Gohara, 21, placed sixth among the Braves’ prospects in MLB Pipeline’s midseason rankings. The left-hander has long been lauded for his exceptional fastball and improving slider and changeup, but hasn’t looked quite himself this season after turning in a 5.44 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 and 8.6 SO/9 across 43 innings at the Double- and Triple-A levels. During nine outings in the big leagues, Gohara allowed 13 runs, three homers and struck out 18 batters in 19 2/3 innings. There’s still plenty of potential left to offset his struggles with velocity and command, however, and The Athletic’s David O’Brien adds that a deal is likely imminent if Gohara “shows anything at all” during his start on Sunday. (He also notes that while the Rangers’ scouts traveled Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for the Rangers/Yankees’ Triple-A contest, they were not there specifically to see Gohara.)
Kela, 25, is one of several bullpen arms the Rangers are shopping this month. The right-hander logged 23 saves with a solid 3.28 ERA, 3.0 BB/9 and 10.9 SO/9 in 35 2/3 innings this season and has drawn interest from the Dodgers, Pirates, Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Indians and Giants in addition to the Braves. Five of those teams showed up to scout Kela on Saturday, per Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Diekman, 31, has looked a little less dominant than his teammate this year after producing a 3.79 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 10.9 SO/9 through 38 innings. He’s also drawn considerable interest as teams approach the trade deadline, though, and could bolster a Braves’ bullpen that currently ranks seventh in the NL with a combined 3.61 ERA and 1.8 fWAR.