Texas Rangers: Possible third base options post-Anthony Rendon
By Kenneth Nash
In an unfortunate turn of events, the Texas Rangers are reportedly out on Anthony Rendon. What options at third base can they turn to now?
It seemed like a match made in baseball heaven between the Texas Rangers and free agent Anthony Rendon this offseason but per reports, the dream is dead. Per numerous outlets it seems Texas’ apparent top target is headed to AL West rival Los Angeles which is an extra shot to the gut. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News broke the news Wednesday night that the Rangers were out of the Rendon sweepstakes.
So now that Rendon is out of the picture, Texas will look to pivot towards alternatives to play third base in Arlington for 2020 and possibly beyond. The immediate name that comes to the forefront is Josh Donaldson. Early on in the offseason it seems like Donaldson was the Rangers top option and it could be that he’s back to that position. Coming off a great year for the Braves, Donaldson represents an older, but cheaper option at third. Likely to get a deal in the four-year, $100 million range, Donaldson adds some needed swagger to the Rangers lineup while also ensuring a couple years of quality third base play.
If Donaldson doesn’t work out, the best trade target available is Kris Bryant of the Cubs. Bryant has long been rumored on the trade market and it looks like Chicago is desperate to move their star third baseman. He’s a career .284 hitter and already has an MVP to his name at only 27-years old. However the price to acquire Bryant is going to be massive and you’re only guaranteed two years of control. Possibly just one year if he wins his service time grievance. If the Rangers could get him locked up long-term that would be a big win but there’s just too many hurdles to jump in getting Bryant to Arlington.
The more likely trade option is Miguel Andujar of the Yankees. The 24-year old seemed one of the brightest young players in baseball after a stellar 2018 season saw him finish 2nd in AL Rookie of the Year voting. In 149 games in 2018, Andujar hit .297 with an .855 OPS and a 2.8 fWAR. Looking to build on that season, 2019 was far more unkind to Andujar with injury limiting him to just 12 games.
Those injuries also cost him his starting spot at third base to Gio Urshela meaning he could be available via trade. The knock on Andujar is his defense which is suspect at this point. He posted a -16.0 UZR in 2018 which is well below league average. Andujar wouldn’t be the immediate impact of the guys listed above or what Rendon could’ve brought, but he fits into the price and timeline in which Texas looks setup to compete.