The Texas Rangers have gotten by with an outfield surplus for long enough. To clean things up, they may have to move Nomar Mazara or Willie Calhoun.
An issue is fast approaching for the Texas Rangers. With all of these talented outfielders, in the majors and orbiting towards the majors, how can space be designated for only three? There are a whole bunch of them in the mix, including Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara, Willie Calhoun, Delino DeShields, Shin-Soo Choo, Danny Santana, Leody Taveras, Julio Pablo Martinez and Scott Heineman. Who will the three outfielders be in 2020?
Initially, the assumed outfield would be Calhoun in left field, Gallo in center field and Mazara in right field. All three can slug the ball; however, that’s far from a shutdown defensive unit. Gallo is a very good outfielder, but he’s not as rangy as big league center fielder really needs to be. Calhoun and Mazara both lack speed and neither is particularly graceful when roaming the green. Mazara does have a great arm, which cannot be said for Calhoun.
If the Rangers begin the year with those three then Choo would be the primary DH, Santana would mostly play infield and DeShields would be a utility outfielder. Heineman would be looking in from the minor leagues, as would Taveras and Martinez.
But what happens when Taveras, who is the organization’s no. 5 prospect, is ready to make the jump to the big club? That could happen as early as opening day if he puts on a show in spring training.
Taveras is a speedster and an elite defender, which means center field is his when he’s ready. That will shift Gallo to a corner outfield position and… who would play the other corner?
That is the ultimate question.
There is only room for one guy, and the obvious candidates are Mazara and Calhoun. Both are too valued to get cut short on playing time. One could DH, but that means the Texas Rangers would have to trade Shin-Soo Choo and figure out what to do with the $21 million that is owed to him. That’s a possibility this offseason, though it seems unlikely.
This thought could be insane or sane, but Calhoun could become the new second baseman for the Rangers if the front office decides it’s had enough of Rougned Odor. After all, Willie Calhoun was drafted as a second baseman.
In that case, where does Danny Santana play? Does Texas even keep Santana around? I’d say he’s earned it.
Regardless, Mazara and Calhoun are the most important variables to this equation. They need to be solved before all others. The concern is that the Rangers won’t be able to make things work both. And if the front office is concerned enough, a trade involving one of those two players could be imminent.
If things weren’t already complicated enough, Texas would then have to decide which player projects better, but also which player would bring the optimal return. We’re talking significant, future-altering decisions here.
As much as I want the Texas Rangers to keep Calhoun and Mazara, it doesn’t seem wise. Defense carries a lot of weight, and two defensive liabilities in one area of the field can really hurt the team. Furthermore, if the Rangers are adamant about keeping Gallo in the outfield, either Calhoun or Mazara will inevitably get the boot when Taveras takes over center field.
There are ways to keep both around, though those ways may not be best for the organization. It would surely be tough for Jon Daniels to let one of the two go, especially Mazara, who the Texas Rangers signed when he was just 16 years old.
Stay on your toes. There are a ton of moving parts to the major league club right now, and there’s simply no way to keep every household name around. A trade involving Nomar Mazara or Willie Calhoun could come to fruition as early as this offseason.