The Texas Rangers got some promising extension news as two young outfielders reportedly are interested in long-term extensions with the club.
The Texas Rangers could get a big break when it comes to nailing down some of their young players long-term. TR Sullivan of MLB.com tweeted out Tuesday morning that slugging outfielders Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara would “love to work out contract extensions with the Rangers.”
This is big news for the franchise and fans alike as they look to cement a long-term vision for the future as a club. Gallo and Mazara have become two of the mainstays in the Texas Rangers lineup day in and day out playing big roles in the field and at the plate.
As questions on the long-term direction of the organization are being raised though, so are questions about the fit and future for these two players. Both have more team control with Gallo not eligible for free agency until 2023 and Mazara not eligible until 2022. However, with the team’s plans for competing set in 2020 and beyond, those contract decisions are looming.
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These decisions even prompted some trade speculation for both players as early as last season as many thought Texas might be willing to move on from one or the other to avoid losing them right when the organization hopes to be a contender again. While trade rumors more so featured Nomar Mazara, both players futures were and still to some extent, are very much up in the air.
Despite this, Sullivan’s tweet helps deliver some ease to the fans and organization assuring that there is long-term mutual interest between both sides. While extensions aren’t locks or even being discussed necessarily, knowing both players are open to committing to the Texas Rangers opens up some flexibility and helps reduce the sense of urgency when it comes to making decisions.
If Texas views these guys as long-term pieces, they won’t be hesitant to get working on a deal. The Rangers handed second baseman Rougned Odor an extension back in March of 2017 well ahead of the expiration of his team control opting to sign him to a more team friendly deal now rather than hold off and risk the price going up.
Last season both players had featured roles for the club and had mixed results. Joey Gallo rebounded from a horrendous start to post his second straight 40-homer season. His batting average of .206 doesn’t leap off of the page but his OPS of .810 was tied for the team lead with Shin-Soo Choo and his 2.1 WAR was good for 4th amongst the club. Additionally, Gallo showed an ability to play in the outfield consistently and probably locked himself in a starting left field job on Opening Day.
Mazara had another respectable season with 20 home runs (the 3rd straight season he’s had exactly 20) and a .258 average. His .753 OPS is a career high as well as his .436 slugging percentage. At only 23-years old, Mazara still has plenty of room for growth and many hope he can still become a star player in this league.