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MLB trade rumors: Rangers could listen on Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels

Due to their struggles during the first half, the Rangers may look to deal their two most talented starters around the trade deadline.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Facing a significant deficit in the AL West, the Rangers may look into trading Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels at this year’s trade deadline, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.

The Rangers’ struggles have been one of the league’s biggest surprises during the first half of the season as they had a record of just 43-45. With the Astros being the American League’s hottest club, the Rangers face a huge 16.5 game deficit in the American League West, along with a three game deficit in the Wild Card race. Crasnick suggests that the Rangers would be interested in moving the two starters if they do not pick up their play before the July 31 trade deadline.

Darvish has put together another solid year as he was selected to his fourth career All-Star appearance. In 19 starts, Darvish has gone 6-8 with a 3.49 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 125 strikeouts in 118 innings. Darvish, 30, is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, so he would effectively be a rental for interested teams.

Hamels, 33, has been limited to just eight starts due to an oblique injury that forced him to miss two months. However, he’s been solid when healthy pitching to a perfect 4-0 record with a 3.51 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. He’s also holding hitters to a career-low .211 batting average against, but he is also posting a career low strikeouts per nine rate at just 4.9 K/9.

Hamels is under contract through 2018 with an option for 2019. He also has a clause in his contract that allows him to block trades to 20 of the 30 MLB teams, so the Rangers may have to get creative in order to deal him.

Rangers’ GM Jon Daniels would obviously look for a huge return for the two starters, so the deals may be difficult to execute. Still, the Rangers are keeping their options open if they elect to sell as they close in on the trade deadline.