Baseball season is officially over. Now us fans will drift into the lull that takes place between the end of October and middle February when pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training.
Pretty soon that lull is going to brighten up because rumors will start swirling and players will start changing uniforms.
Rangers fans are hoping for big time deal that will perhaps bring a dominant arm or powerful bat to Arlington, but at what cost?
Here is a look at some possible offseason trades that the Rangers will be looking at this winter:
- Justin Upton: The Upton-to-Rangers rumors began around the July 31 trade deadline of the 2012 season, but never came to fruition as the Rangers went the route of the pitcher and acquired Ryan Dempster to bolster the rotation. With the impending loss of Josh Hamilton to the highest bidder, Upton could provide another power bat to the middle of the lineup. With Mike Napoli possibly leaving next season as well, and Nelson Cruz testing the market next year, Upton’s bat could provide a much needed pop in front of Adrian Beltre until Upton is a free agent after the 2015 season. With the Diamondbacks trading Stephen Drew to the Athletics this season, they are most likely to want a shortstop, and Elvis Andrus could fill that hole.
- J.P. Arencibia: The Toronto Blue Jays claiming Bobby Wilson off waivers from the Angels could be a sign that they are willing to talk about trading away some of that depth behind the plate. The Jays have Arencibia, Wilson, veteran Jeff Mathis, along with top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud at the backstop. The Rangers will most likely look at Arencibia as he has two seasons of starting under his belt and has a little bit of power to boot. The downsides to Arencibia are as follows: he missed six weeks with a broken hand and only threw out 18.5 percent of basestealers in 2012. In the past Ron Washington has claimed that he views the defense behind the plate as the most important part of the position, but the Rangers need an answer to poor performance at catcher this year. Arencibia splitting time with Geovany Soto sounds like it would work well for the Rangers.
- David Price: It is a known fact that the Rangers will be looking to improve the rotation by adding an ace, but whether they will attempt to do so via free agency or the trade market remains to be seen. There’s speculation, and seemingly a lot of it by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, that the Rangers could package Andrus along with Martin Perez and another minor league arm or two in a deal for Price. The Rays have struggled from shortstop over the past few years, and Andrus would no doubt fill that role for years to come as he is coming off the best offensive season of his career. Some have pointed to the possibility of trading Jurickson Profar straight-up for Price, but, after seeing how the trade deadline talks went, I don’t think they see that as a viable option.
- Josh Johnson: BleacherReport.com’s Jonathan Irwin recently wrote that Johnson being dealt to Texas is one of the seven most likely deals this winter. Like Upton, the Rangers were thought to have some interest in Johnson at the trade deadline, but no deal was ever reached. I imagine that the Rangers were skeptical because of Johnson’s recent shoulder injuries that sidelined him for most of the 2010 and 2011 seasons. In 2012, Johnson had a somewhat resurgent season, but struggled late, ultimately going 8-14 – though a lot of those losses were the fault of the awful Marlins’ bats. The Marlins did very poorly in what was supposed to be an upstart, resurgent season for the club. The team will be looking to get rid of some payroll and stack their farm system and a trade for some young guns could benefit the Rangers as they look for a top of the rotation starter.
- Tim Lincecum: The Boston Globe reported last week that Lincecum, a two-time Cy Young winner, will be on the trading block this offseason, and I fully expect him to have a comeback player of the year-worthy season next year. He has all the stuff to do so and a change of pace in a new city could provide could spark something. I’ve had a love for Lincecum since the first time I saw him pitch, so a lot of this may be wishful thinking, but there are reports out there that agree with me. If trade talks begin, expect Perez to be in the mix. Lincecum would most likely fit in between Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison in the rotation, if they do not snatch up a starter from the free agent market.
- Felix Hernandez: Let it be noted that this is entirely speculation. The Mariners have said time and time again that they are not willing to deal for Hernandez, but I think if the right deal came along, they would have to listen. I suggest trading Andrus, Perez, Leonys Martin, Derek Holland, and maybe a few more pieces for the dominant right-hander. The Mariners need to listen if there are pieces like this on the table because they need to focus on rebuilding a franchise, rather than holding on to King Felix along with one of the worst offenses in the majors. The chances of this happening are astronomical, but a little speculation never hurt anyone.
One of the things I like the most about the Rangers front office is that it never gives up. If there’s something out there, you better bet that the Rangers will be one of the first ones on the line to discuss it. There are reports that all of these players (except for Hernandez) will be on the market, so I expect the team to follow up on all of these players, as they will have tremendous upsides for the 2013 Rangers’ World Series hopes.
Read Rangers offseason moves, part one here: http://nolanwritin.com/2012/10/25/rangers-offseason-moves-part-one-free-agents/