Looking ahead to the upcoming offseason, could the Texas Rangers consider trading Nomar Mazara to open up room in the outfield?
It’s not a secret that the Texas Rangers are in full rebuild mode and have their eyes on being competitive a few years down the road. Part of this rebuild means determining which players currently on the roster will make it to the end result. A few players aren’t going anywhere like Rougned Odor and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. But could the once untouchable Nomar Mazara be traded this offseason to free up a crowded outfield? If he could be, why would the Rangers even be considering this?
Contract Length vs. Rebuild Length
The main reason Nomar Mazara could make his way out of Arlington is the gap between how long he’s under team control, and when the Rangers can expect to be competitive again. Nomar Mazara is arbitration eligible at the end of the 2019 season meaning he and the Rangers will try to find common ground on contract terms or have a mediator help them find that common ground. Mazara is eligible to be a free agent after the 2022 season which obviously means he could leave the Texas Rangers for nothing when that time comes.
So with eyes on Mazara having the ability to leave in 4 years, Texas has to decide if that timeline fits with their rebuild plans. Realistically, the Texas Rangers aren’t competing for a World Series for the next 5 years in my opinion. Obviously that would mean that Maz could leave before the Rangers are hitting their stride competitively. If that’s the case and this is the timeline Texas has in their mind, the Rangers would be best served dealing Nomar while his value is still very high and getting a deal that could help massively years down the road would be a wise decision.
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Logjam in the Outfield
Beyond the contract complexity, the Texas Rangers also have a bit of a logjam forming in the outfield. The Rangers, while not necessarily being a loaded farm system, do have a loaded class of outfield prospects. The top 3 prospects in the organization are all outfielders, Leody Taveras, Willie Calhoun and Julio Pablo Martinez. Take those three and add Nomar Mazara, Joey Gallo, Carlos Tocci, Delino DeShields and you can clearly see that there just aren’t enough spots to go around.
So as you look to start cutting that number down, who makes the most sense to leave. The answer is fairly simply, Nomar Mazara. Some of this ties back into the contract length vs. rebuild length. Mazara will be out of team control earlier than all three top prospects as well as Gallo and Tocci. Delino and Nomar both are out of team control in 2022. Add this to the fact that Mazara is probably the most limited defensively of this group alongside Willie Calhoun. Limited to right field, besides his slightly above average arm, his value just isn’t really there in the outfield. In fact I think he’d be at his best as a DH on the Rangers which obviously is a slot that’s not available due to Shin-Soo Choo.
A Lineup Loaded with Lefties
Somewhat similar to the problem in the outfield, the Texas Rangers also have a lineup that is overloaded with lefties. Rougned Odor, Joey Gallo, Willie Calhoun, Shin-Soo Choo, Nomar Mazara and Ronald Guzman are all players you would expect to be in the lineup regularly in 2019. Batting 6 lefties night in, night out doesn’t really make sense in today’s game and the Rangers have to find a way to cut that down.
The Rangers are in no way dealing Rougned Odor or Ronald Guzman and they won’t be able to trade Choo which narrows it down to three. Offensively, Mazara doesn’t bring the power to the table that Gallo does nor does he bring the overall offensive package of Willie Calhoun. Pair that with the factors aforementioned and Nomar Mazara seems to be the odd man out.