Texas Rangers: What are the plans at first base for 2020?

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - JUNE 08: Ronald Guzman #11 of the Texas Rangers catches a ball hit by Josh Phegley #19 of the Oakland Athletics in the eighth inning during game two of a doubleheader at Globe Life Park in Arlington on June 08, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - JUNE 08: Ronald Guzman #11 of the Texas Rangers catches a ball hit by Josh Phegley #19 of the Oakland Athletics in the eighth inning during game two of a doubleheader at Globe Life Park in Arlington on June 08, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 11: Todd Frazier #21 of the New York Mets celebrates his second home run of the game in the fourth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on September 11, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 11: Todd Frazier #21 of the New York Mets celebrates his second home run of the game in the fourth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on September 11, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Offseason Additions

Entering the offseason, the Rangers were linked with a few different options at first base as they looked to potentially upgrade. The most prominent name was Nick Castellanos who, by trade, is not a first baseman, but perhaps a conversion experiment the Rangers were willing to take a chance on because of his bat. Castellanos eventually signed with the Reds, nixing that idea, but Texas did make a free agent signing that impacts first base.

The Rangers added infielder Todd Frazier who could play some at first base if needed. As of now, Frazier is set to be the everyday third baseman but with the Rangers ever-connected to a Nolan Arenado trade, that door stays open to him moving across the diamond. Frazier would be a right-handed platoon with Guzman to help take the pressure off the lefty.

The other free agent signing of some note that could play first base is former Yankee first baseman, Greg Bird, whom the Rangers inked to a minor league deal. Bird has struggled with injuries throughout his career derailing what was a strong start in 2015 on a small sample size. Bird, 27, is another lefty which negates the platoon option but he is insurance in case Guzman continues to struggle early this season.

Bird was invited to big league camp at Spring Training as was 26-year old Sam Travis who the Rangers acquired in a deal with the Boston Red Sox. Travis is a right-handed hitter but has just 111 big league games under his belt. A career .230 average doesn’t jump off the page but Travis, like Bird, is low-risk insurance as the Rangers try to cement their big league roster.

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