The off-season is fast approaching and the Texas Rangers need to decide where they want to spend their payroll. The organization needs to bring in pitching, but if they use some money on a position player would outfield Lorenzo Cain be a good fit in Arlington?
It’s more than likely that the Texas Rangers will be searching for a starting center fielder this off-season. Veteran outfielder Carlos Gomez is eligible for free agency and is expected to test the open market.
The Rangers have Delino DeShields to cover center field, but is that enough? This season DeShields hit .269 with six home runs and 22 RBI with 29 stolen bases in 120 games. He had a breakout season, but is he ready to start every day in center?
Let’s say DeShields does win the starting job in center field and Gomez decides to hit free agency. There could still be another outfield spot open if the organization decides to more outfielder Shin-Soo Choo into the designated hitter role.
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The Rangers would like to get more athleticism in their outfield, and Lorenzo Cain could be their guy. The 31-year-old outfielder has played mostly center throughout his career, but that shouldn’t be an issue.
If Cain ends up with Texas then the team can move Nomar Mazara to right field, and put DeShields in left, and Cain in center. Where the outfielders play is not the biggest concern right now, but does this team really need Cain?
Last season Cain hit .300 with 15 home runs and 49 RBI in 155 games with 26 stolen bases. He posted a 5.3 WAR in 2017 which is the second highest on his career. It’s clear that Cain is a solid player, but he’s not worth the price tag.
Youngster Willie Calhoun is likely headed for a future in the outfield, and signing Cain could create a log jam. The Rangers received Calhoun in a trade deadline move that sent ace starter Yu Darvish to the Dodgers.
As of right now the Rangers can’t count on Calhoun to be the everyday guy with just 13 MLB games under his belt. He should be ready soon though, and signing Cain to a long-term deal could create some issues.
Yes, Cain could fit on this 2018 Rangers club, but the team needs pitching. The organization can survive without Cain, and will be fine once Calhoun develops. The Rangers should pass on Cain, and work on rebuilding their staff this winter.