49-52

Josh Hamilton homered and hit the game winning single, and the Rangers out-slugged the Yankees 7-6 on Thursday night. 

After being outscored 27-7 in the first two games of the series -- including a 21-5 drubbing on Tuesday -- the Rangers ended up splitting the four game set with New York. 

Yovani Gallardo struggled over 6 frames, allowing 5 runs on 8 hits, two home runs and 2 free passes. To his credit, after surrendering all his runs in the first three innings, Yovani shut down the Yankees in the 4th, 5th and 6th, giving the Rangers a shot in the latter innings. 

Trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the first, Josh Hamilton supplied the equalizer -- a three-run shot into the right field stands off CC Sabathia, which was reminiscent of his first inning HR in Game One of the 2010 ALCS... also off Sabathia.

Choo added a token solo HR in the bottom of the 2nd to make it 4-3 Texas.

The game was tied at 6's heading into the bottom of the 9th, which started with Delino DeShields working a full count walk against rookie RHP Nick Goody. 

With a man on first and nobody out, Joe Girardi summoned his closer, Andrew Miller, who's been one of the top bullpen assassins in baseball this season. His night started in the strangest of fashions, first by allowing the loudest out of Elvis Andrus's career, a towering 400-foot flyout to Jacoby Ellsbury on the warning track in center; then Leonys Martin lined a ball off DeShields's foot, crediting him a single but effectively working the same as a routine fielder's choice, or a strikeout: there was still a man on first, but now there were two outs. 

What a strange sequence. 

With the threat seemingly under control, Andrew Miller ostensibly pitched around Adrian Beltre, which made sense with the left-handed Hamilton on deck. But Miller missed his spots to Josh -- albeit not by much -- on the first two pitches, creating the rare 2-0 count that Hamilton inevitably cashed in on with a walk off single to right.

Rangers 7, Yankees 6.

Cole Hamels Makes Sense For The Rangers

Since Jon Daniels took the reigns of the Rangers organization, one thing has been abundantly clear: he has never been afraid of assuming the risk if he believes in a player's talent. 

Cole Hamels, 31, has long been the object of this front office's affection, and last night a trade was finalized sending LHP Matt Harrison and five prospects -- C Jorge Alfaro, OF Nick Williams, and RHPs Jake Thompson, Alec Asher and Jerad Eickhoff -- to the Phillies to get him. In the immediate, it's a blow to one of the deepest farm systems in MLB; over the long-term, this transaction puts Texas as one of the favorites in the American League as early as next season. 

Heading into trade deadline week, like most Rangers fans I was skeptical of assuming high-priced talent and giving up prospects. But... I'm also the guy who wrote before the season that, if there was an exception to be made, Cole Hamels would be a good place to start. So I'm all over the place. 

The three names of consequence going to the Phillies are Alfaro, Williams and Thompson. Their ceilings, depending on who you ask, are two future All Star position players, and a quality #2 starter. None, however, are guarantees. Alfaro has been lauded for his 80-raw power and 80-grade arm, but he's also struggled moving through the minors with his plate discipline, as well as his catching/receiving skills behind the plate. Nick Williams, who has enjoyed a monster .295/.357/.479 (132 wRC+) campaign, has been a riser in 2015, but ESPN Insider Keith Law writes, "I still have serious concerns about the approach, the poor pitch recognition, and the below-average instincts in the field." 

For a Rangers fan, the quality of this trade is inversely proportional to how much he or she values those three guys. If you love the prospects, you probably don't like the trade. Since he's out for the year, Alfaro is a real wild card in all this, and most who have followed his career will submit to the idea that he's a bang or bust talent. More polarizing is Williams, who some swear on to be the next big thing. I guess only time will tell. 

The reason I see Texas as such a winner in this deal has little to do with the prospects, and everything to do with the one outlier of the package: Matt Harrison. Since PHI will take on the remaining $34 million owed -- as well as an additional $9.5 million from Hamels's contract -- then, as Eno Sarris of FanGraphs states (emphasis mine):

If they weren’t covering all of Harrison’s remaining contract, the cash would be going the other direction, so it’s probably safe to say that the Phillies are off-setting something like $30 million of the remaining $67.5 million Hamels is due over the next three years. That makes the marginal cost increase only in the range of $43.5 million if they buy-out his 2019 option for $6 million: Hamels at three years and $43.5 million is an absurd value for the type of pitcher the Rangers should expect.

This goes without saying, neither of top prospect Joey Gallo, nor #2 prospect Nomar Mazara, will be leaving town. Chi Chi Gonzalez is still with us. Outfielder Lewis Brinson (.337/.416/.628, 179 wRC+) is still around to provide whatever outfield depth was lost in Williams. As the roster starts to take shape in 2016 and beyond, the Rangers still have the pitching depth, still have the outfield depth, and, sans Jorge Alfaro, essentially traded away what can be considered superfluous assets. 

The goal of the farm system is to supply the major league team, whether it's from the organization developing its prospects, or those prospects being traded. It's all with the intention of winning the World Series

For Jon Daniels, the real weapon was having a minor league system deep enough to shed five potential future big leaguers, while still holding onto his top two. It's a steep price to pay, but with all the money Philadelphia is offsetting, the Rangers created a way to save even more money on top of what was already an under-market contract for an ace. 

With the 2016 rotation seemingly set (assuming health), we can expect Hamels to join Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Martin Perez, and probably Chi-Chi Gonzalez, giving the Rangers about as formidable a rotation as exists in baseball. 

Rangers Acquire Cole Hamels

The Texas Rangers have acquired Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman from the Philadelphia Phillies for a package of Matt Harrison, Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Alec Asher, Jerad Eickoff, and Jake Thompson.  The Rangers will also receive cash considerations for to offset some of Hamels' contract. 

Wow. 

Jon Daniels is a ninja.  

When I first read this information, I was amazed that neither Gallo or Mazara appeared in this deal. 

Then I was amazed that the Phillies were sending money back to the Rangers. 

Then news hit that Philly was taking a gamble on Matt Harrison, his shoulder, his spine, and his contract. 

Honestly, I think this is a great trade for both teams. 

Philadelphia needs talent, in any form, and they certainly get that in the package of prospects.  While I am not completely sold that Alfaro is a Major League catcher, his potential is huge if he can stay healthy.  Nick Williams could be a star, but his work ethic is questioned at a far too young age.  Jake Thompson will be a major league starter and has been working to refine his off speed stuff.  Matt Harrison gave the Rangers the best he had and never gave up, working like a hero off of the field to return to it. 

In summary, that's a oft-injured catcher that might become a first baseman, a talented young man whose drive is questioned, a solid pitcher who was picked up in exchange for Joakim Soria, a pitcher who required medical miracles to even walk, much less pitch again, and a couple of bullpen pieces for an ace. 

An ace, and a bullpen piece, and cash that is. 

Both teams get what they want in this trade and I cannot help but be excited thinking about next year's rotation of Darvish, Hamels, Holland, Chi Chi, and Perez/Lewis.  

Things are looking up, JD.  Now move Gallardo and pair that cash from Philly with Choo to keep building for the future.  

Expect more moves between now and Friday. 

Report: Rangers, Dodgers "likely favorites" to trade for Cole Hamels

ESPN.com's Jayson Stark writes:

"The Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers have emerged over the weekend as the likely favorites to trade for Philadelphia Phillies ace Cole Hamels," though "sources say they would be surprised if a trade was completed before Tuesday."

Cole Hamels has long been coveted by the Rangers front office, and, along with Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Martin Perez, would potentially be part of one of baseball's elite starting rotations going forward. 

The problem is manufacturing a trade that makes sense for both parties. Per Keith Law, the Dodgers and Rangers possess 4 of MLB's top 6 prospects -- Corey Seager (#1), Julio Urias (#4), Joey Gallo (#5) and Nomar Mazara (#6) -- none of which are presumed to be available in a Hamels trade. 

While Los Angeles have the game's best prospect duo, the Rangers probably make more sense as a trade partner for Philadelphia, because so much of its second-tier prospect talent is closer to reaching the big leagues. Chi Chi Gonzalez and Jake Thompson are both expected to be part of a big league rotation in 2016, Nick Williams is on the fast track to being a regular contributor as early as next summer, and a package centered around two of those three seems like a natural place to start.