Make a Trade to Open Up LF for Pederson
Of all the scenarios, this likely fits the Rangers desires the most in a hypothetical but would also be the toughest to pull off. As of now, Willie Calhoun is expected to be the everyday left fielder for the Texas Rangers in 2020 with expectations that he can become the primary DH for the club once Shin-Soo Choo’s contract ends this winter. While Calhoun’s defense has improved, his value lies in his ability to be an all-around big league hitter, not with his glove. Meanwhile, Joc Pederson’s best position seems to be left field where he’s logged 1200 career innings with a UZR/150 of 10.5 and posted marks in ARM and RngR which measure run value via arm and range.
This scenario would maximize the defensive value of left field with Pederson, right field with Gallo and leave Santana in center, the spot Texas seems content to use him at for the foreseeable future. However, the hardest question isn’t about fit, but rather who gets traded to let this hypothetical fall into place. The Rangers would probably rather deal Choo who is in the final year of his contract and is due $21 million this season. Texas would have to pay down a large portion of that salary to move him but it would allow them to keep onto Calhoun, who has more long-term value. However, Choo has the ability to veto a trade limiting Texas likely to only contenders with whom Choo would want to join. Additionally, Choo is almost exclusively a DH meaning Texas is now limited to contenders in the AL who have a need for a left-handed bat. That list is small.
The Rangers could try to move Calhoun but sending out a player with plenty of team control who continues to get better each year for a player that is likely a one year rental feels like bad business. Calhoun looks on the verge of a breakout and won’t be free agent eligible until 2025. While swapping him for Pederson may make you better next season, it will hinder you in the long-term making that more or less a non-starter for the Rangers.