Nomar Mazara in now a member of the Chicago White Sox organization. How does this deal affect both the Sox and the Texas Rangers?
Nomar Mazara has been a middle of the order bat for the Texas Rangers since his long-awaited debut in April of 2016. Although, Mazara never fully reached his full top prospect potential and has been an average player over the past few seasons. Now, after four years in Arlington, the Texas Rangers have sent Mazara to the Chicago White Sox for outfield prospect Steele Walker. How does this team grade for both clubs?
Chicago White Sox
For the Chicago White Sox, they are building a young, star-studded team with plans on competing in 2020 and Mazara has the potential to fit nicely in the middle of the Sox order for the next couple of seasons. Mazara still has two arbitration years left, and shouldn’t cost the Sox too much to keep around as he’s projected to get $5.7 million in arbitration this season according to Spotrac.
The White Sox are adding a high ceiling talent who has the potential to hit 30-35 homers a year and has proven he can drive in at least 100 RBI’s despite his struggles with the Rangers. Slide Mazara into the six spot or they could bat him third with protection from Jose Abreu. He adds a much needed left-handed bat in a right-handed heavy lineup. Plus in a small ballpark, his defense should play up with his big arm and limited range. For Rangers fans, it’ll be a strange feeling to see him in black and white, but the change of scenery could be just what ‘The Big Chill’ needs to unlock his full potential.
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The Rangers gave up someone who has been a piece in the middle of their lineup for four years, but received a nice prospect back in return. Steele Walker, the Sox #6 rated prospect, is a Texas kid. He was born in Prosper in the DFW area and attended the University of Oklahoma. He played alongside former Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray in the Sooner’s outfield and has shown some real upside offensively.
He has incredible pitch recognition, according to those who have seen him play, as well as good power and an aggressive approach at the plate. He isn’t particularly great in area of his game, but he is a good all around player, very similar to the guys on the pennant teams for the Rangers. More importantly though, this will allow the Rangers to roll with Willie Calhoun in left field, Delino Deshields and Scott Heinemen in center field, and Joey Gallo in right field for the upcoming season.
Calhoun in particular forced the Rangers’ hand in 2019, battling his way into the starting linuep and creating more clarity in the outfield logjam. Calhoun’s .269 average and 21 homers in 83 games provided further evidence that he was ready for consistent big league playing time. His 0.5 fWAR matched that of Mazara in 2019 despite bouncing between the big leagues and Triple-A and playing in 33 fewer games. He’s got the playing time he fought for now, and we can finally see a full season of Willie Calhoun. For the Rangers, it’s always hard to give up on a homegrown talent with such a high ceiling, but after several years of mediocre production, it was time to move on. They got a good prospect, cleared some payroll, and are allowing the other young talent to get some needed playing time and experience. Great trade for both teams, but probably a bit better for the Rangers.