Posted on July 8, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine

Jason Bahr

The Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants pulled off a rather unusual trade Sunday afternoon. The Rangers received veteran outfielder Austin Jackson, reliever Cory Gearrin, and pitching prospect Jason Bahr from the Giants. In return, San Francisco will receive either a player to be named later or cash considerations.

For the Giants, the trade was all about clearing payroll and roster space. Trading away Jackson and Gearrin opened two roster spots for the Giants to call up prospects Ray Black and Steven Duggar. It also saves San Francisco a couple million dollars in hopes of getting their payroll below the luxury tax threshold. It could also give the Giants some financial flexibility to add a player at the trade deadline.

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Duggar is San Francisco’s no. 3 overall prospect, according to MLB.com. He made his big league debut Sunday, playing center field and hitting in the leadoff spot against the Cardinals. He’s considered both a plus-runner and plus-fielder and potentially the team’s center fielder of the future. The Giants have struggled to find consistency in their outfield for much of the season. Duggar figures to get an audition to see if he can help spark the Giants, who remain within striking distance of a playoff spot.

Black, meanwhile, is rated as the team’s no. 29 prospect, according to MLB.com. He will make his big league debut at age 28 after posting impressive numbers at double-A and triple-A this year. The Giants already have a solid bullpen in place, so he will only be asked to play a complementary role.

As for the Rangers, who are miles from contention, they add Jackson and Gearrin for both this season and next season. Jackson is guaranteed $3 million next season while Gearrin has one more year of arbitration. Gearrin is a serviceable reliever who should help an injury-plagued Texas bullpen.

Jackson’s role with the Rangers, however, is less clear. The 31-year old had an excellent 2017 season with the Indians in a part-time role. But he’s been unable to replicate that kind of performance with the Giants. His numbers this season are comparable to Delino DeShields, who is the Rangers primary center fielder right now. One or both could be a trade candidate before the deadline.

Rangers GM Jon Daniels admits that the primary reason for the trade was to acquire Bahr, who was rated as San Francisco’s no. 27 prospect, according to MLB.com.

“Our primary motivation in the deal was acquiring Bahr,” said Daniels. “He’s a guy we look at as maybe a little bit of an undervalued prospect… There is an element to that, for sure, where our willingness to take on a salary allowed us to acquire Bahr.”

Bahr was a fifth-round pick in the 2017 draft. He has moved quickly through the farm system. He recently being promoted to advanced-A ball, where he’s continued to have success barely a year after being drafted. However, Bahr is not considered an elite prospect or someone with a high ceiling. Nevertheless, Daniels and the Giants see something in him that they like.

Obviously, it’s unusual for a prospect to be the key figure in a trade. Both but both teams seemed to have got exactly what they wanted. The Giants cut some payroll while the Rangers inherited a prospect they wanted. Where each team goes from here, the Giants as potential buyers and the Rangers as obvious sellers remains to be seen.

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