With Beltre and Profar no longer on the team, the Texas Rangers have a situation on their hands at third base. Might Isiah Kiner-Falefa have to take the reins?
The consensus is Isiah Kiner-Falefa will be the Texas Rangers’ starting catcher next season. He shared time with Robinson Chirinos throughout the second half last year, and with Texas not re-signing Chirinos, the path for IKF leads to behind home plate. Ideally, that’s where he will play; however, the roster situation may not be ideal.
Third base is a huge question mark at the moment. Adrian Beltre made his decision to retire, and the Rangers are in no rush to find the next Beltre (if that’s even possible). Plus, trading Jurickson Profar indicates that the team doesn’t really care about a short-term solution at the hot corner.
While it’s not essential they find a guy that can produce offensively and defensively in 2019, a weakness at 3B can be very revealing. Maybe I’m not giving Patrick Wisdom or Nolan Fontana the credit they deserve. After all, I know little about them; therefore, one or both could really surprise this spring.
That may be the route the Texas Rangers take–wait and see and let it play out. Though, if the time does come and the inexperienced options do disappoint, Texas may have to turn to the reliable Kiner-Falefa.
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IKF is a fine option as the team’s primary third baseman. In fact, it would hardly inconvenience any roster plans. Jeff Mathis, the assumed backup catcher, has plenty of major league experience. He won’t knock the cover off the ball, but he’ll certainly play good defense and command the pitching staff. Those two things are most important for a catcher anyway.
Also, Jose Trevino is coming along and should be composed enough to handle substantial big league playing time very soon. He’s 26 years old and he’s already made his debut. Promoting him early on in 2019 should not be considered a rush.
Trevino could start, backup, or split time with Mathis. Any responsibility should work out okay for the Rangers.
Ultimately, it’s about putting forth your best lineup. Everything will clear up as the regular season nears. Frontrunners will be determined; the Rangers will locate their strengths and weaknesses. If Trevino comes out swinging in the spring and Wisdom struggles, Kiner-Falefa may be headed to third base. If Wisdom comes out swinging, IKF will likely get the nod at catcher.
Whatever decisions are made out of spring, they can always be adjusted throughout the season. One thing’s for sure: the Texas Rangers have plenty of room for error in a rebuilding year.