The Winter Meetings are coming up, and free agents are roaming through the premises of the baseball world. The Rangers continue to try to build their successful franchise, but a question looms on the minds of fans and even players. Will and should the Rangers take a small dive into the deeper end of free agency, especially with starting pitching? Starting pitching free agents include Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Madison Bumgarner, and even former Ranger Martin Perez. Let’s look at the pros and cons of going all out on the pitching pool.
Let’s face it, no one wants to wait, and the top tier guys are going to want the years attached to their deal. Therefore, these next few months will be the only opportunity to acquire Cole, Bumgarner, Ryu with no player attachments (prospects). By the time these players go back into free agency, either they’ll be close to retirement, or their arsenal won’t be as dominant as today. What better way to introduce a new ballpark and a few feels of the franchise than to go all-in on a Cy Young candidate starter to get the franchise jump started and back towards contention.
Another plus is that if the Rangers bring in another top-tier starter is the young pitchers in the minors get more time to develop. There’s no pressure in bringing guys like Joe Palumbo, Brock Burke, Taylor Hearn, and others into the big leagues. Sure they’ll probably get their chances, and the club will only be able to afford one top rank free-agent starter. The youngsters will also have a great mentor in improving their skills, similar to what Mike Minor and Lance Lynn were in 2019. Speaking of those two, in signing a top tier free agent starter, the Rangers can place both Minor and Lynn on the market to improve other aspects of the ball club, like third base.
Welcome to #MLB, Brock Burke.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 21, 2019
First, signing a starter like Cole or Ryu will require a lot of dough and a lot of years. Name a long-term ten-year deal that has worked well this past decade. They don’t often happen, correct? That’s why these players ask for the decade deal lock-in because at that point; there’s one certainty, payday. If the Rangers go this route, then they’ll have to shop third base cheap or develop a third baseman within the organization (Josh Jung won’t be ready in 2020).
Other pieces are on the Rangers’ minds right now. First, the biggest concern pay-wise should be an extension of All-Star Joey Gallo. Second, I’d argue and say finding a high-priority third baseman is more worth the funds than a top-tier starter. The third baseman would play every day (nearly), and the Rangers have more developmental starters in the minor leagues that showed poise in 2019. Honestly, I’d say if the Rangers are willing to spend the cash, a third baseman would be worth the dough, but not a starter.
There will be a lot of questions running through the mind of Texas Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels in the coming months. There’s a plan in place, but the problem is how much the franchise will stick to that schedule. 2019 was a step in the right direction, but with the expectations rising, the fear now is a regression. I wouldn’t be surprised if Texas becomes aggressive this holiday season.
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