Have the Rangers found their long-term first baseman in Justin Smoak?The Rangers have a long-term first baseman. Still not sure if it’s Smoak or Chris Davis. Right now, it's Smoak's job to lose. But as I said, this team is going to have to consider dealing a first baseman at the deadline. Some clubs might prefer Smoak's hitting ability over Davis' defense and raw power. Think the 1B of the future may depend on who the Rangers' potential trade partner might prefer. -- Evan Grant, Dallas News
This is probably just a writer blowing smoke, but if the Rangers get anxious with trying to make it to the playoffs, perhaps they could be Kazmir'd (the prequel, not the sequel). Smoak would not come cheap, obviously, but the very fact that they might be foolish enough to consider making the deal would allow Friedman an opportunity to work out his fleecing prowess.
Smoak would fit a glaring organizational hole if Pena leaves in the off-season. What organization, if they had to face losing Crawford and Pena, wouldn't have some sense of relief knowing they had Desmond Jennings and Justin Smoak waiting in the wings?
If the Rays were out of the race, you'd expect it would be easier for Friedman to make a deal. At this point, who would he be willing to trade that would fit their needs? Jennings is off-limits, plus the Rangers have plenty of outfielders, so it wouldn't match a need anyways. Jeremy Hellickson? Is that too rich for a potential gold-glove, above-average potential hitting first baseman? Could the Rays even afford to trade him when he's the perfect 6th man in the wings in case of injury during a stretch run?
It's always hard for a GM trading potential-for-potential, but Friedman has already done it and done it very well. The Garza for Young deal will go down as one of the best trades in franchise history. The Rangers may want something the Rays just don't have. But Friedman may have another opportunity to add to his stable of amazing trades this deadline.