Texas Rangers: Why Nobody Is “Untouchable” This Offseason

ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 30: (L-R) Rougned Odor #12 of the Texas Rangers, Jurickson Profar #19 of the Texas Rangers, and Nomar Mazara #30 of the Texas Rangers celebrate after scoring on a double by Robinson Chirinos in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox at Globe Life Park in Arlington on June 30, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 30: (L-R) Rougned Odor #12 of the Texas Rangers, Jurickson Profar #19 of the Texas Rangers, and Nomar Mazara #30 of the Texas Rangers celebrate after scoring on a double by Robinson Chirinos in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox at Globe Life Park in Arlington on June 30, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /
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With the Winter Meetings just two short months away, the Texas Rangers shouldn’t consider any Major League players as untouchable.

Despite being fairly strong in terms of young talent already at the Major League level, the Texas Rangers shouldn’t rule out trading anybody this offseason. While there definitely could be a short-term rebuild option for the organization that could have them competing in the next couple of seasons, if Texas wants to return the club to the same levels we saw in 2010 and 2011, a “fire sale” may not be a bad idea.

Anybody who has spent anytime looking at the Rangers organization recognizes the need for young, top tier starting pitching. Of their top 10 pitching prospects according to MLB Prospect Watch, only 4 made it to the Double-A level last season and only 3 appeared in 5 or more games. With Jonathan Hernandez, Taylor Hearn and CD Pelham headlining that group of upper level pitching prospects, only Hernandez projects as a natural starter. Hearn may develop into one but looks more likely to take on a bullpen role in the big leagues. That leaves a large gap between where the Rangers are now, and when legitimate top end pitching talent will be big league ready.

So in a division that houses the reigning World Series champs who boast a rotation with 5 former All-Stars, 2 of which are former Cy Young winners, how can the Rangers be best poised to compete. Sure, a lot of the offensive pieces are there, but a rotation headlined by Mike Minor isn’t going to cut it. A quick fix by signing a big name starter may help Texas a bit over the next couple of seasons, but this team is numerous pieces away from being legitimate contenders again. The only way to truly add these necessary pieces is to be patient and stockpile them. And that means being willing to part with talented players currently on your team for the haul of prospects they could bring in to help the future.

Imagine the Prospect Haul

Take a second to distance yourself from your current love for Nomar Mazara and imagine logically what he could bring back in a trade with a contender. Mazara, at 24 years old, is on the brink of entering his prime, already puts up consistent numbers at the plate, and is under team control for three more years. Those three facts immediately mean the Rangers could net a return that included a future ace plus some. Now do the same with Joey Gallo, a premier power threat in baseball. Being willing to part with just one of those two players could bring back the pitching talent the organization needs for long term contender success.

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Obviously Gallo and Mazara are the two names that probably grab the most attention but if you’re not willing to part ways with them, consider Willie Calhoun and Jose Leclerc. Two more players who are young, hitting their primes and under team control for a foreseeable future. While Joey and Nomar would bring in the biggest returns, Willie Calhoun and Jose Leclerc would be some close runner ups. With Leclerc, imagine what the Rangers netted for Keone Kela this past year and add some. Hopefully you’re seeing how quickly a couple of trades could give the prospect class for the Texas Rangers a much needed facelift. Heck, I could even get behind a Rougned Odor trade if it nets big time pitching prospects coming the Rangers direction.

Compare the Rebuild Timeline and Current Contract Lengths

Now I can guess your biggest questions with the section above revolve around, why would we trade players under team control for multiple years? It’s actually pretty simple when the timeline of a legitimate rebuild is honestly evaluated. Bluntly, the Texas Rangers are 5 years away from being a perennial contender once again. The only legitimate MLB starters under contract or team control for the Rangers come 2023. Elvis Andrus, Rougned Odor and Willie Calhoun.

Jurickson Profar – FA in 2021

Delino DeShields – FA in 2022

Nomar Mazara – FA in 2022

Alex Claudio – FA in 2022

Joey Gallo – FA in 2023

Jose Leclerc – FA in 2023

Of those 6, who all had enough playing time in 2018 to be considered core organizational players, all will be free agents before the end of this hypothetical 5-year rebuild. All will also enter arbitration at some point over the next few years meaning their salaries are going to increase dramatically. Now of those 6, how many do you think the Rangers can afford to re-sign and would be willing to re-sign? Therein lies the problem. While trading a couple of these core players surely would have a noticeable negative impact on the Rangers over the course of the next few seasons, risking losing all of them for nothing in a few years could mean this stretch of mediocrity becomes an even longer problem.

Related Story. 4 Texas Rangers that could be dealt this offseason. light

This Offseason Will Test Commitment to Success

I’m under no illusions that this offseason may not be a whole lot of fun for fans. We likely could see fan favorites and potential stars dealt in the name of “long-term success”. We also likely will see us guaranteed at least a couple more last place finishes over the next couple of seasons without really any chance to compete. But if we really want our organization to be the elite contender it once was, these seem the only logical steps.

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