Texas Rangers: Top Three Needs to Address this Offseason
By Kenneth Nash
Catching for the Rangers last season was a bit comical in terms of production. After letting Robinon Chirinos walk his way down to Houston where he played in a World Series, the Rangers tried to piece the position together with Jeff Mathis, Tim Federowicz and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Late in the year Jose Trevino stepped in and added a glimmer of hope that the Rangers could have a starting catcher in house for 2020. However, Trevino isn’t operating with a huge sample size so placing all your hopes on him seems a bit naive.
Mathis is still under contract but to say he was bad last season would be too kind. Texas has to find some offensive production from that position and I’m not sure they have it within the organization. Long-term Texas has Sam Huff who looks like an elite hitter but he’s a few levels away from the big leagues and even then there’s no guarantee he sticks behind the plate. Until then, the Rangers need to look to the free agent market. Yasmani Grandal highlights the class that has more depth than star power. A Robinson Chirinos reunion isn’t out of the question but you have to wonder if there’s a twinge of bad blood there after it seems Chirinos and the Rangers front office parted ways on not the best of terms. Other notable names available are Jason Castro, Travis d’Arnaud and Alex Avila.
Prediction: Travis d’Arnaud
While I would love to see Chirinos back in Texas catching on Opening Day at Globe Life Field, I think he is probably in the tier that contenders are looking at and it seems he could even head back to Houston. On the other hand, d’Arnaud is coming off a soldi 2019 season where he hit .251 split between three different clubs and had an OPS of .782 with 16 homers. Not All-Star level stuff but far more productive than what Texas got out of the position last season. He’s a right-handed bat that Texas desperately could use in their lefty-heavy lineup and will be just 31 come Opening Day. That fits the Rangers age profile meaning he could help fill the spot for a few years before Huff and other Texas catching prospects are ready to try their hand in Arlington. He shouldn’t break the bank and would be a pretty big upgrade in the lineup.