Per report, the Texas Rangers are showing interest in free agent infielder, Josh Harrison. Texas is in need of a third baseman after trading Jurickson Profar to Oakland.
With Jurickson Profar gone, the Texas Rangers have some major uncertainty at third base. No one on their 40-man roster offers notable major league experience there. Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Joey Gallo are the most established Rangers that can play the position; however, both have responsibilities elsewhere.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the Rangers are showing interest in at least one external option. Heyman tweeted yesterday afternoon that Texas is among eight teams looking into Josh Harrison, the super utility free agent formerly of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Harrison had a down year in 2018, slashing .250/.293/.363 with 8 home runs. Though, he was limited to only 97 games on the year. This past season may be a stain on his resume, but his prior work certainly holds up. He’s a career .277 hitter that has concluded each of the last five seasons with a positive WAR. Of course, his defense greatly contributes to his consistency.
Harrison played multiple positions for the Pirates. He played some outfield, but mostly second base and third base. He’s corralled 20 defensive runs saved throughout his career at second and 19 at third. Defense is his specialty, and the Texas Rangers are in great need of a lock-down third baseman.
The Rangers can offer Josh Harrison consistent playing time. If they were to sign him, the 31-year-old would be the leading candidate to start the 2019 regular season at third base. Moreover, it would be his job to lose. His competition for the Rangers’ job would be far less threatening than if he were to join a team like the Phillies, Yankees, or Reds (a few other teams interested per Heyman’s tweet).
Texas may have big plans at the hot corner once the 2019 season comes and goes; however, Harrison would be a great option for the very short-term. The Rangers need another right-handed hitter in the lineup and they need a contact hitter. Harrison fits both needs. He’s a strong option to fill an important void on the roster. Even in a rebuilding year, the team wants to avoid an unnecessary eyesore at third base.