The trade deadline has come and gone for the Texas Rangers. The Rangers ended up not doing much, which was a shock to many people including myself. At the end of the day, the Rangers valued all their players at a very high level and were not going to make a deal just because others outside of the organization thought they should.
I don’t have a problem with that at all.
The Rays, Cubs, Braves and Indians were all reported as teams interested in 2019 All-Star Hunter Pence. Once those teams went in different directions, Pence was left in Texas which is fine by Pence and everyone in the Rangers organization.
“I think he’s really important for Chris Woodward and the staff and the leadership of the team we are trying to emphasize,” Jon Daniels said. Daniels went on to say that they had a bar for Pence and were not going to go below that bar in any deal.
Pence has been a part of a couple of trade deadline deals during his career but said that he’s happy with the staff, the team and getting to remain home.
The biggest surprise to me from the lack of movement is that Mike Minor is still a Ranger with so many contenders in need of pitching help. Daniels said after the deadline passed that he remained in contact with Mike and his agent throughout the entire process as talks were ongoing but that they weren’t going to force a deal.
Now, just because Minor wasn’t traded at the deadline doesn’t mean the Rangers couldn’t revisit the idea during the offseason.
I am against the idea of trading Minor during the offseason. His value will never be higher than it was during this season. Minor will be 31 in December and next season will be the final year of his contract so it is unlikely that the Rangers could get more for Minor in a deal this offseason than what was being offered for him before July 31st.
My Rangers goals for the upcoming offseason
- Add to the payroll by adding elite talent
For the past couple of seasons the Rangers have ranked 16th in MLB in payroll. In a top 5 market with a significant TV deal heading into a new ballpark, it is time for the Rangers to get back to adding elite talent. The Rangers have shown they can evaluate and have success signing guys on the secondary market. The next couple of off seasons will be about being opportunistic in free agency and the trade market to add elite talent so that they can get back to competing on an elite level while continuing to develop and add talent to their farm system.
2. Identify and address the biggest holes
The biggest holes the Rangers face as a team, as currently constructed, are centerfield, first base, third base, catcher and the rotation. As far as the rotation goes, the Rangers have Lance Lynn and Mike Minor under contract for next season and are hoping recently acquired Kolby Allard can be added to the rotation for next season. Allard projects as a 4th starter according to scouts. That still leaves two open spots.
One name the Rangers would like to add to fill one of those spots is current Houston pitcher Gerrit Cole. Cole is expected to leave Houston after this season but it appears unlikely that Cole comes to Texas over the LA teams or the Yankees.
Nationals’ third basemen Anthony Rendon has been mentioned as a realistic option for the Rangers.
It will be interesting to see how they go about addressing the catcher position. Jeff Mathis signed a two year deal last off season because the Rangers wanted to go in a defensive direction behind the plate. There is no doubt that Mathis has been a disappointment this season as Mathis is having his worst defensive season of his career in certain metrics such as framing and strike zone runs saved.
Delino DeShields has been the primary centerfielder the past few seasons. He has shown great improvement defensively but has not shown enough offensively to warrant an everyday role although he still has two months of this season to build some momentum heading into the off season. Joey Gallo and Danny Santana have both seen time there this season and it would not surprise me if Santana gets a bit of an audition over the next couple of months as the 2019 season comes to a close.
3. Address the core
This season was about seeing what this year would bring guys like Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara and Rougned Odor. Those three guys are guys they felt like were part of their core. Gallo is the only one of those three that I would feel comfortable moving forward with. Odor is signed so I imagine he will be back. Mazara is where it gets interesting for me. Willie Calhoun doesn’t have a natural defensive position but his ability to hit makes it crucial for the Rangers to find a spot for him to get consistent at-bats at the big league level going into next season. For that reason, I would look to trade Mazara and/or Shin-Soo Choo during the offseason. Choo will be entering the final year of his contract, which could make the $21 million that Choo is scheduled to make more attractive to a team that is closer to competing and looking for a bat.
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