With the calendar turning over to January and with pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training in less than two months, baseball would typically be in its most boring portion of the offseason.
This winter, the two biggest free agents on the market are yet to sign. With Bryce Harper and Manny Machado still mulling their options two plus months after the World Series ended, there are still a lot of players whose 2019 landing spot is in question.
The rebuilding Texas Rangers aren’t in the mix for either superstar, but there is a move or two that could open up for them once Harper and Machado do decide where to sign. After trading infielder Jurickson Profar to the Oakland A’s last month for prospects, reports began to surface that Texas was also mulling dealing its de facto rotation ace Mike Minor for prospects. While those reports have cooled since Christmas, Minor isn’t the only prominent Ranger who has been attached to a trade rumor or two this winter.
The 23 year-old Dominican outfielder Nomar Mazara will be entering his fourth full Major League season when the 2019 season begins. He has been a consistent bat in the middle of the Rangers lineup the last three seasons, but has he shown enough growth and improvement to show he still has another level he can take it to? If not, perhaps it would be smart to deal him this winter for another asset that might benefit the Rangers more.
No, the Rangers should not trade Nomar Mazara – Garrett
Outfielder Nomar Mazara has emerged as a cornerstone piece for the Texas Rangers. At age 23, he’s a true diamond in the rough, and a promising sign of a development for a team committed to a firm rebuild.
Texas should not trade this caliber of player.
A trade would be an immense setback for the team. Despite missing his first significant time due to injury in 2018, he still put up strong offensive numbers, batting .258 with 20 home runs and 77 RBI. He reached the century mark in only his sophomore season, driving in 100 runs in 2017.
He’s also been very consistent over his career. Astonishingly, he’s hit exactly 20 home runs in each of his three MLB seasons. Perhaps more impressive- he’s recorded an on-base percentage of .320, .323 and .317, respectively.
On a team that will miss the defensive stalwart and retired third baseman Adrian Beltré, Mazara’s glove will be valuable to one that needs a defensive identity. In 421 career games, he’s recorded a minuscule 10 errors, even while playing both corner outfield positions.
Texas hasn’t locked Mazara into a long-term contract yet, but he’s under team control until 2021, and eligible for arbitration this offseason. He is a controllable asset, and with a strong season in 2019, could find himself with a sizable contract extension. He made $563,000 in 2018.
It’s easy to understand why Texas is shopping a valuable, young asset like Mazara- but one can certainly speculate that his value has not reached his peak.
His long-term potential is far more valuable than another risk of prospects. He has a far “higher ceiling” than some of the pieces Texas has moved and been rumored to move this offseason.
Yes, the Rangers should trade Nomar Mazara – Dylan
No, I’m not showing up at Globe Life Park and petitioning if Nomar Mazara is wearing a Rangers jersey on Opening Day this season. I’m just open to the possibility that this could be a move that would benefit the team in 2019 and beyond.
Nomar Mazara is one of my favorite Rangers players. “The Big Chill” nickname seems to fit him perfectly. His 6’4 frame makes him, Joey Gallo and Ronald Guzman look like one of the biggest and most physically intimidating trios of young left-handed bats around. He’s never had a “bad” season during his three years in the majors.
Unfortunately, he’s never had a particularly great season. His year-to-year stats progression don’t necessarily suggest he’s trending towards becoming a bat capable of an All-Star or MVP-level season. However, he’s still 23 so this could be incredibly premature. With him being under team control until after the 2021 season, what’s the rush to judge him?
Well, maybe now would be the best time to deal him if the Rangers are trying to maximize their long-term pool of talent. Considering his age and what he has shown in three years in the majors, Mazara figures to be the player who would net the most return for Texas if they dealt him compared to Profar or Minor.
The National League East is going to be competitive as any division in 2019, and seemingly every team besides the Miami Marlins has been attached to Mazara since the trade deadline last July.
The top OFs left on the free agent market are Bryce Harper, A.J. Pollock and Nick Markakis. Guys like Nicholas Castellanos and Nomar Mazara, maybe David Peralta, could be had via trade.
Given the uncertainty with Cespedes, it's hard to argue against the Mets acquiring an OF bat.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) January 2, 2019
As far as the impact of a Mazara deal would have on 2019, it would open up a thing or two. A corner outfield spot could open up to guarantee more at-bats for prospect Willie Calhoun. The 24 year-old appeared in only 35 games in 2018 due to a crowded Rangers outfield and Shin-Soo Choo taking up the majority of the DH at-bats. With Choo and his contract still in the fold, Calhoun could slide into left field while the rest of the Rangers outfield figures itself out after a Mazara trade.
It wouldn’t be the easiest pill to swallow, but I think trading Nomar Mazara for a young, controllable pitcher who has major league experience or sits right at the cusp of it would be a smart long-term play for the Rangers.
While some teams are waiting to see if a young superstar is going to accept their $200 or $300 million contract offer, the state of the Rangers finds them mulling dealing talented young players for minor league prospects. It’s not where the fans or the team wants to find them, but there is no singular move that will get the Rangers back to competing in the postseason soon.
For now, tough decisions like whether or not to trade Nomar Mazara will just be one of many steps in their journey back to relevance.
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