Offseason Additions for the Big League Club
Jon Daniels made a bevy of offseason additions to the Major League roster and in support of the roster with players on minor-league deals. From Hunter Pence to Asdrubal Cabrera to Danny Santana, Texas has found production to fill the gaps from last season and they’ve played no small part in the club being in the position they’re currently in.
In the quickest form, here’s a rundown of the offseason impact signings that Daniels and the Rangers made…
11/30/18: Sign RHP Jesse Chavez to a 2-year/$8 million contract
Daniels brought back Jesse Chavez after dealing him back during the season to the Cubs for a pitching prospect. After a shaky start, Chavez has quickly become the hottest reliever in the game and is riding a 22.2 scoreless innings streak. He’s appeared in 31 games for Texas and thrown 37 innings building an impressive 1.1 WAR.
12/18/18: Sign RHP Lance Lynn to a 3-year/$30 million contract
This was the biggest addition the Rangers made in terms of length and dollar amount in the contract and it’s paying off big time. Texas and JD took a small risk signing right-hander Lance Lynn to a 3-year deal after some questions were raised about his 2018 performances. While his numbers in Texas won’t be winning him a Cy Young, he’s paired up with Mike Minor to create one of the best 1-2 punches in the AL and he currently has a 2.1 WAR, good for 9th in the AL among pitchers.
1/4/19: Sign RHP Adrian Sampson to a minor-league deal
The Rangers were able to ink right-hander Adrian Sampson to a minor-league contract with a Spring Training invite. Sampson turned that opportunity into a spot in the starting rotation and a role as a key player on this roster. Sampson, in 2019, has made 7 starts and 14 appearances in total. He sports a 3.72 ERA, a 3.79 K/BB ratio and a 2.4 WAR that has him 7th in the AL amongst pitchers.
1/9/19: Sign CF Danny Santana to a minor-league deal
Like Sampson, the Rangers were able to bring in utility-man, Danny Santana, on a minor-league deal and Spring Training invite. Hopes were that perhaps Santana could give some depth at the top of the minor-league system and fill-in for the Rangers when needed. However, Santana has been electric since his early-season promotion and has featured in 43 games for Texas. He’s able to play a plethora of positions and sports a .306 average that is hard to keep out of the lineup. While nobody expects him to hit .300 all season, he’s been a revelation and is even garnering calls from fans to be the clubs everyday second baseman over Rougned Odor.
1/24/19: Sign INF Asdrubal Cabrera to a 1-year/$3.5 million contract
JD and the Rangers brought in Cabrera as their low-budget replacement for Adrian Beltre after the legend’s retirement. With Jurickson Profar no longer with the club after being dealt at the end of 2018, the Rangers needed to fill the spot at third base and Asdrubal was a cheap option for that. However, since signing, Cabrera has found a resurgence that has led to some brilliant defensive work at the hot corner and a .796 OPS in 57 games. He’s become the club’s everyday third baseman and a veteran leader for the team.
1/29/19: Sign RHP Shawn Kelley to a 1-year/$2.75 million contract with a 2020 club option
The Rangers opted to bolster their bullpen by bringing in veteran Shawn Kelley on a 1-year deal with a club option for a 2nd year. Kelley was the back-end of the bullpen vet that Texas was looking for to support closer Jose Leclerc. However, after Leclerc’s pronounced struggles, Kelley took over the closer’s role and has been fairly effective. He’s made 7 saves for the team, has a WHIP of just 1.099 and a 1.3 WAR that his made him crucial to the club in late innings.
2/7/19: Sign OF Hunter Pence to a minor-league deal
Veteran Hunter Pence falls into a similar category as Adrian Sampson and Danny Santana as a guy who took a minor-league contract opportunity and turned it into a near-everyday role. Pence, a guy most Rangers fans should be familiar with, signed with his hometown club with the hopes of reviving his career. Since being promoted to Arlington though, Pence has become the utility-outfielder and DH fill-in the club needed. He’s hitting the ball harder than he had for a lot of his career and at 36-years old, has a .282 average, a .902 OPS and a 1.2 WAR in 50 games for the club.
2/26/19: Sign INF Logan Forsythe to a minor-league deal
Forsythe just adds to the list of veterans brought in on minor-league deals who have impressed for the Texas Rangers. Since being selected, Forsythe has been a blessing with his ability to play all around the infield and he’s been no slouch at the plate either. Through 48 games, Forsythe has a .274 average, a .811 OPS and a 1.0 WAR becoming a crucial piece to Texas’ success so far this year.
Give the Man His Due
Obviously, decisions like these are made with a team of people and aren’t unilaterally made by Daniels. However, as the GM, he has a big part to play in every aspect of the club and if you want to slap blame on him for the missteps over the years, you also have to give him credit when things go right. Not only did he get these big league deals done, but he was able to deal Jurickson Profar and prospect Rollie Lacy for a host of young talent that has filled out the upper part of Texas’ prospect rankings. He’s consistently added prospects over the past year or so while still building a fairly competitive club and that deserves recognition.