Texas Rangers: Offseason simulation budget, plans and goals
By Kenneth Nash
Here at FanSided, we’re conducting an MLB Offseason Simulation and as the mock GM of the Texas Rangers, here’s a preview of our plans.
Our offseason simulation at FanSided has gotten underway with free agency open and our mock Winter Meetings starting tomorrow. I get the pleasure of acting as GM of the Texas Rangers in this simulation. We’ll be looking to make trades, sign free agents, and build the club for 2020 and beyond.
To lay the groundwork for how this went down, across our FanSided MLB division, the site experts for each of the Major League teams native sites take the helm as the front office for their respective teams. We opened up free agency starting Monday with the simulation carrying through Saturday. Each team was expected to operate in a fairly realistic manner including setting a payroll budget from which we’d have to operate.
The staff of Nolan Writin’ set the Texas Rangers budget at $155 million. Entering the simulation, the Rangers had a payroll right around $104 million which gave us about $50 million in space to operate with this offseason. Compared to the Rangers’ real life budget, that feels fair especially if Texas gets involved with the top free agents which is a real possibility. We wanted to ensure we had the space to offer the best guys available if we chose to while also not just spending money because it’s there and we don’t have to sign the checks. This $155 million mark is under what Texas had in 2016 and 2017 when they were competing heavily but above the past couple of seasons.
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Setting out into this offseason sim, we have three primary goals for the club. We felt these moves would help set Texas up to compete this season and in the future.
Acquire a Starting Third Baseman
Priority number one in this offseason simulation was to acquire a starting third baseman either via trade or through free agency. With names like Anthony Rendon, Josh Donaldson and Mike Moustakas headlining the free agency class, that was the logical route to follow. We planned to push hard for a starting third baseman and treated this as our top priority. The Rangers have a distinct hole at third base and despite Josh Jung emerging as a top prospect and candidate for the future, Texas needs to address that position.
Acquire an Impact Starting Pitcher
Similarly to third base, we were looking to acquire an impact starter either through free agency or via trade. We looked at starters ranging from top of the rotation aces to middle of the rotation pieces. Creating a strong trio of starters alongside Mike Minor and Lance Lynn would give the Rangers a strong chance of competing against playoff caliber opponents. The top free agent options were Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Madison Bumgarner, Zack Wheeler and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Along with third base, we pushed hard to land an impact starter.
Trade a Left-Handed Hitting Outfielder
While our top two priorities were acquiring players, we also wanted to move on one of the Rangers left-handed hitting outfielders. Texas has a log jam with Joey Gallo, Willie Calhoun, Nomar Mazara and Shin-Soo Choo all fitting that mold. In our mind, this was an addition by subtraction move as it allows the guys who remained more playing time and more at-bats, while limiting the defensive rotation in the outfield.
Beyond the biggest three goals we set for the simulation, we also looked at some smaller moves that could benefit the club.
We decided that pursuing another catcher was a feasible move in an effort to replace Jeff Mathis. With Jose Trevino emerging as a viable catching candidate, we looked at both starting caliber catchers as well as backups.
While the Rangers bullpen was fairly decent last year, we thought we could use another left-handed reliever to shore up the bullpen. Kyle Bird and Jeffrey Spring represent candidates currently in house but a veteran felt like it could be impactful.
What to Expect
Over the next few days we’ll announce moves we’ve made, are making and are looking to make as well as how they’ve impacted the team. We’ll address each of our primary goals and what the market looked like for each grouping. Stay tuned!