Rumors: Texas Rangers “Likely” to Fill Third Base Externally

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 03: Anthony Rendon #6 of the Washington Nationals smiles as he takes batting practice before playing in game one of the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on October 03, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 03: Anthony Rendon #6 of the Washington Nationals smiles as he takes batting practice before playing in game one of the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on October 03, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Filling the third base position is still top priority for the Texas Rangers and based on recent comments, it looks like to be addressed from outside the club.

It’s not a shock that the Texas Rangers are looking to the free agent market to fill their opening at third base next season. However, per Saad Yousuf of The Athletic, we have some confirmation that GM Jon Daniels expects the Rangers to address the hot corner via external options either in free agency or by trade.

The name all Texas Rangers fans are hyper-focused on at this point is Anthony Rendon who is fresh off a World Series win with the Washington Nationals. The 29-year old is the best position player on the market this season and has solidified himself as one of the top third basemen in all of baseball posting a combined 13.2 fWAR over the past two seasons.

If the Rangers can’t bring in Rendon who is expected to net a massive contract of at least seven-years, $210 million, they could turn to veteran free agent Josh Donaldson. Donaldson, 34, had a resurgent year in Atlanta on a one-year deal that has him lined up for one last big payday in his career. In 2019, Donaldson posted a 4.9 fWAR, the 8th best among MLB third basemen according to FanGraphs. Donaldson will still be costly albeit slightly less so per year with projections starting around three-years, $75 million.

If neither of those two work out, the Rangers could look to free agent Todd Frazier as a stop gap. Frazier isn’t as productive as the top two free agent options but he still could contribute posting a .251 average with the Mets last year and a 1.9 fWAR. He also would be far cheaper and has a reputation as a solid clubhouse guy.

Beyond the free agent market, Texas could look to a trade to bring in their next third baseman. Miguel Andujar of the Yankees seems the most likely option after injuries limited him to just 12 games in 2019 and he lost his starting spot to the emergence of Gio Urshela. Andujar wouldn’t come cheap as he’s only 24 and hit nearly .300 in his first full season in the Majors in 2018. However, the Yankees could be willing to move off him considering Andujar surplus to requirements. His defense is suspect but he could continue to develop and his bat brings so much value in and of itself.

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There are a couple of elite third basemen Texas could pursue on the trade market but both come with some big complications. Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs has been floated on the trade rumor circuit for a couple of years now. However he would cost a hefty package in a trade and is only under team control for a maximum of two more seasons. He’s currently in the midst of arbitration with two more years left and has a grievance against the Cubs regarding service time manipulation that could drop him down to one year of team control.

They could also approach the Rockies about Nolan Arenado who signed a massive extension to stay in Colorado last offseason but has popped up in trade rumors a couple of times this offseason. The Rockies aren’t very good and could stand to offload a lot of money to reload and it’s been reported that they’ve fielded calls already regarding Arenado. Still, considering his massive contract and the prospect haul it would take to get him you have to consider if it would be worth it to just keep upping the bid on Rendon.

It’s poised to continue being a very interesting offseason for Texas who announced the signing of RHP Kyle Gibson on Friday, their first significant move of the winter. I would venture to guess that the Rangers have at least one guy mentioned above playing third base next season. Bryant and Arenado are virtually guaranteed no’s but Rendon, Donaldson and Andujar are all legitimate possibilities.

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