Texas Rangers Should Focus on Nolan Arenado Next Offseason
By Kenneth Nash
While teams are focused on improving this offseason, the Texas Rangers should turn their attention to next year’s highlight free agent, Nolan Arenado.
The Texas Rangers have a lot of holes that could be filled this offseason including a newly created one at third base with the departure of Adrian Beltre. While Jurickson Profar likely will take over at the hot corner for Texas in 2019, the third baseman of the future for the Rangers could hit free agency in 2020.
Nolan Arenado, perennial All-Star and Gold Glove third baseman of the Colorado Rockies is due to hit free agency after the 2019 season. He no doubt will be the headliner of the 2020 free agent class as one of the most talented players in baseball who wouldn’t turn 29 years old until after the season starts making him a player teams could invest heavily in for the long term.
Why This Works For The Rangers
Well first off, a player of Arenado’s caliber would work for pretty much any team in the league. But for Texas, this creates a unique opportunity. The Rangers seriously lack power from the right side of the plate and Nolan brings that hitting 35 or more homeruns in each of the past four seasons. Arenado also brings in a career .539 slugging percentage and a career .886 OPS. In 2018, when he finished 3rd in the NL MVP vote, Arenado finished with a .935 OPS and drove in 100 runs for the fourth straight season.
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This kind of threat at the plate would instantly make him the most lethal hitter in the Rangers lineup and would add some protection to some of the Rangers more “free” swingers.
Defensively, Arenado is even better which seems hard to fathom. He’s pretty much the consensus best defensive third baseman in baseball racking up six straight Gold Gloves in the NL. That’s more than his idol and now former Texas Ranger, Adrian Beltre. Just looking at Arenado’s awards solidifies his spot as the overall best third baseman in the game. Six straight Gold Gloves and four straight Silver Sluggers will do that.
Nolan Arenado would instantly become the best player on today’s Texas Rangers and even a year from now, he represents the kind of player a club can build around. While Texas isn’t at the level to compete yet, a lot of the pieces for the Rangers are at the club and Nolan Arenado would be a perfect asset after a year of rebuilding to put this team back into playoff contention.
How Can Texas Make This Happen
If the Rangers want a shot at Nolan Arenado next offseason, they have to make major steps forward in 2019. That doesn’t mean they have to be competing for a Wild Card spot next season, but they do need to make the moves that signal we are striving to compete.
Likely this means trading a core piece like Joey Gallo or Nomar Mazara for legitimate starting pitching to fill the most major holes in the Texas Rangers organization. If the Rangers can bring in a couple of talented starters who can become Major League rotation caliber pitchers, they likely can find a frontline starter on the free agent market that would get the pitching to the level it needs to be at.
Additionally, the Rangers will need to look to trade Jurickson Profar to bring in even more pitching depth to open up a spot for Arenado at the hot corner. Bringing in two or three starting pitchers and a couple of relief arms could make the Rangers staff competent enough to hang in games and allow a potent offense to do its job.
Would Arenado Even Be Interested
Nolan Arenado has voiced his desire to play for a contender which is why the Texas Rangers would have to make some serious steps forward to show they’re serious about returning to the playoffs quickly. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Arenado signs an extension with the Colorado Rockies if they can compete next year and if they’re not competing, he likely could get dealt at the trade deadline.
The Rangers could fit in the massive contract Nolan Arenado will command in free agency and with I don’t think he’d be opposed to playing the same spot that his idol Adrian Beltre did for so many years. The key is can Texas make the club an attractive enough option in terms of contending to rope Nolan Arenado into a long term deal that could reshape the franchise for years to come.