The Texas Rangers are said to have an increased payroll. What direction will GM Jon Daniels go, and who might we see in Rangers’ colors next season?
The Texas Rangers had their end-of-season press conference on Tuesday. GM Jon Daniels and manager Chris Woodward were asked heavily about the offseason and the individual performances from the likes of Rougned Odor, Elvis Andrus, Jeff Mathis, and others. The competition, Woodward said, will be fierce in the spring with no jobs guaranteed. That said, who will be in and who will be out for the Rangers once the offseason work is done?
Here’s a look at who’s likely to be cut in the winter months, and who might be coming to Texas.
Looking at the current roster, we can make a relatively good assessment as to who may be out the door this offseason. Keep in mind, upcoming free agents will not be mentioned here.
Jesse Biddle, LHP.
Jesse Biddle has been in and out of the waiver wire his entire career. After being claimed off waivers from the Mariners, Biddle made four appearances with the Rangers and posted an ERA of 11.81. Not good. Biddle, still only 27, has a high upside if he can stay healthy, but foreseeing him on the roster next spring is a stretch.
Adrian Sampson, RHP.
Sampson earlier this year looked like a godsend for the Rangers. In April, he had an ERA of 3.58, and looked more and more like a consistent rotation piece for the year. However, his ERA only got below 4.00 once after his initial two starts to the regular season. Sampson is also 27 years old. I could see him returning on a minor league contract, but he won’t be looked at as anything more than a depth piece.
Nomar Mazara, OF.
Mazara has averaged 20 homers per season since he debuted in the majors in 2016. The once top prospect has huge upside, and at only 24 years old, there’s still a lot to like about him. For the Texas Rangers, are Nomar’s performances over the past four years good enough to keep him around? I don’t think so. Willie Calhoun has shown he is ready to be an everyday major league player, and has seen his playing time increase drastically while Mazara’s decreased. With highly touted prospects on the way in Leody Taveras, JP Martinez, and Bubba Thompson, Maz could very well see his way out this offseason.
There are highly touted players in the free agent pool this offseason, such as Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon, but the big name players are not the focal point here. Yes, a Cole or Rendon signing would be huge for Texas, but Jon Daniels has opted not to spend big in recent years. Here are a few quality players that could call Arlington home next season.
Jose Abreu, 1B.
Jose Abreu? Yes. Absolutely. Abreu has been one of the game’s best hitters his entire career with the Chicago White Sox. He would balance out the left-handed heavy Rangers’ lineup and add power, average and decent defense. He’s not a defensive wizard like Ronald Guzman is, but his bat plays and would play big time in Arlington. I could see Abreu coming to Arlington on a 3 year, $65 million contract, with an opt-out after the first year.
Cameron Maybin, OF.
If the Rangers don’t bring fan favorite Hunter Pence back, Maybin may be next in line. Cameron Maybin has been nothing short of amazing for the Yankees this year. The 32-year-old outfielder would fit nicely in Texas. He provides a good batting average, decent power, and has shown flashes that he still has some of that defensive prowess he possessed when he was younger. Maybin would balance the Rangers’ lineup and give them a lot of flexibility on defense and offense as a platoon player. Maybin may be enticed to Arlington on a 2 year, $17.5 million contract.
Madison Bumgarner, LHP.
It’s a stretch Rangers fans, but how would Mad-Bum look in the red, white and blue? Bumgarner has arguably been the best pitcher in baseball over the past five seasons, most notably his World Series performance in 2014. He has been hit with the injury bug over the past few years, which has diminished his value slightly from the perspective of many MLB teams. As effective as he’s been, it would be hard to give the 30-year-old lefty more than $100 million.
Jon Daniels will hear the cries of Rangers fans, prompting him to go get Bumgarner for 4 years, $95 million, with an opt-out after the second and third year. If not Bumgarner, Hyun-Jin Ryu would be a good fit as well on a 2 year, $26 million contract, with a third year player option.
The free agent pool in 2019-2020 is deep. Jon Daniels will have a busy few months as he works to put together a Rangers roster that may look significantly different by the spring.