Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
The Texas Rangers have not made and will not make big acquisitions this winter. The team still needs middle of the rotation help, a catcher, and a corner outfielder. The team could also benefit from a relief pitcher. In my last article I outlined why the Texas Rangers might (or more accurately might not) try to sign Max Scherzer. While the signing would make sense in many ways, it is almost certain that Scherzer will not be coming to Arlington.
So why will Jon Daniels continue to avoid impact signings this offseason?
The Rangers have significant help coming over the next two years. At each of the positions of need right now there are several potential answers close to being major league ready. Consider the need for another rotation piece. With Yu Darvish, and Derek Holland, atop the rotation the Rangers need middle of the rotation and back of the rotation pitchers. If Martin Perez comes back from Tommy John surgery, which is definitely possible but not something worth counting on, then he could be an excellent 3rd piece in the rotation. Essentially, Texas needs two more decent pitchers. Over the next two years, Jake Thompson, Alex “Chi Chi” Gonazlez, and Luke Jackson among others will have their opportunities to make the big league team. All three players have the potential to be good options as 2nd or 3rd type pitchers which will make them good back of the rotation pieces. It also means they will not need to fully reach their ceiling to be productive. Daniels is likely to choose to forgo committing to an expensive free agent when he has three good options with high upside a year or two away. Why block these pitchers?
Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
This is not an exciting prospect for Rangers fans, despite Smolinski’s and Rua’s good showings last year. It seems Daniels tried to trade for Justin Upton and perhaps Matt Kemp but landed neither. Instead, players like Nomar Mazara, Lewis Brinson, and Nick Williams will get their chance to arrive in Arlington over the next two years. These players have all-star upside and exciting tools sets. An outfield of Leonys Martin, Shin-Soo Choo and Nomar Mazara (my personal favorite outfield prospect in the system) would be formidable if Mazara could reach his ceiling.
Similarly, the team has not signed a big name catcher to accompany Robinson Chirinos. The front office is not going to put anyone in front of Jorge Alfaro who has star upside. Alfaro is a risky prospect but also has the chance to be a franchise quality player. Getting a catcher like Russell Martin would have been nice in the short term but would also leave Alfaro nowhere to play with Texas. It would also be financially inefficient.
The above is also why Texas will not try to replace Adrian Beltre, or extend him, after he finishes his tenure with Texas. They already have an in house option with Joey Gallo. Enough has been written about Gallo that I do not need to defend why Texas should not try to acquire a third baseman before Gallo can get promoted to the bigs.
This type of decision making is something Texas has been committed to for some time. The team tries to compete in the short run without giving up the future. Texas wants to be a contender this year and five years from now. The farm system is deep with potential major league talent which makes relying on the farm system to produce talent less risky than it is for other teams. The team “only” has two star caliber prospects. (I say “only” because many systems do not have one let alone two) but has many prospects with potential to be major league average or slightly better. Of course, prospects will break your heart and the Rangers may learn this the hard way.
The lesson here is that we should be patient. After the team’s aggressive behavior over the past few years, it is almost confusing now that the team is doing nothing this winter. How can the team that signed Shin-Soo Choo and traded for Prince Fielder last offseason be doing nothing this offseason? Simply put, the team is building from within and hopes to fix their current problems without making big acquisitions.