The Texas Rangers this off-season have made some low-risk acquisitions to help strengthen the rotation. Now, with an eye towards the start of the season, the Rangers still need to fill voids at the first base and DH.
Mark Trumbo is off the table after signing a three-year deal with the Baltimore Orioles. After a lot of talk and rumors that placed the 2016 home run leader on the radar of the Texas Rangers, it appears the Rangers must look elsewhere for power-hitting help.
With 72 days to go until Opening Day, Jon Daniels and the Rangers must sign a player. Otherwise they will place their faith largely in unproven internal help. Let’s take a look at some options that are still available:
These are the deals that are most likely to happen. The deals the Rangers have been and are currently linked to throughout the off-season.
This one seems like a no-brainer. Mike Napoli has already done two stints with the Texas Rangers. Last year he hit .239/.335/.465 and 34 HR and 101 RBI with the Cleveland Indians. Napoli is a slight improvement from the performance Mitch Moreland had offensively last year.
Although Napoli is a significant downgrade in defensive capability. However, it appears that both sides are having trouble getting a deal done. Friction is arising over the length of the deal.
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Chris Carter is a player who strikes out a lot, has a .222/.321/.499 line, but hits a bunch of homers. Carter was tied for National League lead in homers (41) in 2016. He also has no draft pick compensation attached to him.
However, with a high strikeout rate, and a low batting average, it has been difficult for Carter to find a team this off-season. Carter could be signed for a bargain, but at this point internal options could be a better choice.
Under the Radar Deals
These are the types of players that the Texas Rangers are accustomed to taking a chance on for a bargain deal. The low-risk, high-reward type of players.
The Los Angeles Dodgers do not appear to be interested in resigning Chase Utley. News broke recently that the Dodgers want to make a trade for Jurickson Profar with the Rangers. Utley could prove to be a decent DH option considering he hit .252/.319/.396 and is a solid contact hitter. Utley should be a prime candidate for the Rangers since he could be signed to a short-term, low-cost deal.
Ryan Howard, another member of the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies World Series run. He would be an interesting acquisition for the Rangers. Howard hit .196/.257/.453 with 25 homers and 59 RBI. These numbers are clearly a drop from Moreland’s production last year.
However, Howard wants the chance to prove he can be effective. Being an American League DH might prove him to be the right fit for the Texas Rangers.
All of these options hinge on whether or not the Rangers wish to make a financial bet on any of these players. All of these players come with some risk. After the re-signing of Josh Hamilton, the Rangers should be looking for a backup, or platoon player. Someone to share the duties of first base and DH in the case Hamilton can’t come through, or the internal options aren’t up to par.