The Rangers are off to a hot start for the hot stove season. Texas resigned Geovany Soto to a reasonable 1 year 3.05 million dollar deal earlier this week. Personally, I like the deal. Soto is a quality backup catcher and while he is not a consistent hitter he does offer pop off the bench. Soto certainly does not always bring a good approach to the plate. He is often an easy out swingy, freely and not making much contact but his upside is that he will tear into a fastball on occasion. I like that in a platoon, bench player like Soto. His nine homeruns in only 54 games is great bench production. I am not sure he can replicate his 2013, 114 wRC+ next year but Soto calls and catches a solid game so he will offer the team plenty of value.
They also inked Martin Perez to an incredible 4 year 12.5 million dollar deal. To me this could be an incredible steal. Perez was rock solid this year. I think Perez could easily be better than Matt Harrison and perhaps could be as good as Derek Holland. This is a low risk signing with huge upside. It is more Jon Daniels brilliance.
These two signing are the type of which I figured the Texas Rangers offseason would be made. After a frustrating year of watching the Rangers I had resigned myself to another uninspiring offseason. Based on last year’s inactivity, after this season ended I began to mentally prepare myself for a quiet offseason comprised of mostly resignings and stop gap pickups. Let’s be honest, last year’s offseason was more or less a bust. We signed a couple of decent veterans in A.J. Pierzynski and Lance Berkman. One was solid but nothing more; the other was a huge disappointment. I figured this year would be more of the same. On the other hand, we have seen the Rangers make huge free agent splashes in the offseason during the Jon Daniels’ reign. Both the Adrian Beltre and the Yu Darvish signings have paid off massively, as the two are clearly the best players in Texas.
After a few days of reading about the potential offseason of the Texas Rangers I am officially excited for the offseason. The Rangers have been repeatedly linked to almost all of the high profile free agents including; Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, and Masahiro Tanaka. There is equally exciting trade talk that includes the Rangers acquiring David Price. There are plenty of additional interesting players that would fill the needs the Rangers have. Players like Mike Napoli, Carlos Beltran, Ervin Santana, Matt Garza, Corey Hart and Tim Hudson would all be solid acquisitions for the Rangers.
Texas positions of need are left field, catcher and possibly firstbase. The Rangers’ current roster could fill all three of these positions with Craig Gentry, Geovany Soto, and Mitch Moreland respectively but I do not believe more than one of these three will make the opening day starting lineup. Daniels claims that Soto is the starting catcher but this is likely a smoke screen to keep prices low on any potential catcher signing that Texas wants to be in on. There has not been any explicit statement that Moreland is not the firstbaseman of the future but experts seem to believe that Daniels now views Moreland as a platoon and bench player. It is possible that we see Moreland back as the starting firstbaseman next year but that is only likely to happen if Texas fails to make a move. This leaves plenty of room for Jon Daniels to fit a key cog into the lineup.
It is going to be an intriguing hot stove season. I believe that Texas will make a big pick up this offseason although it may not be McCann or Ellsbury because Daniels seems to avoid putting big money on players with questionable injury histories. I expect Texas to acquire a player like Tanaka who is young with upside or a veteran like Beltran who can be signed for a shorter deal to fill the gap until some prospects are ready to step in.