With the Texas Rangers rebuilding, they’re in need of young and controllable assets. Could Carter Kieboom be a fit?
Let’s face it: the Texas Rangers need talent.
Not just any talent, though. Rather, the kind that is young in age, controllable, inexpensive, and in a position to blossom in a matter of years as opposed to more immediately.
Washington Nationals’ infielder Carter Kieboom seems to check all of those boxes.
You might be wondering why Jon Daniels and Chris Young would want to trade away prospects or other young pieces to acquire MLB-ready talent.
In that deal, Texas surrendered two organizational Top-30 prospects and an additional depth piece for seven years of the power-hitting Lowe.
Keeping this in mind, why not use the same type of logic to go get Carter Kieboom?
There is no exact blueprint to rebuilding, after all.
To these ends, Kieboom is reportedly being made available in trade by the Nationals, who are looking to begin a rebuild of their own.
The Texas Rangers have a chance to acquire a player with a ton of upside in Carter Kieboom.
Kieboom, Washington’s top prospect as recently as prior to the 2020 season and a former Top-100 prospect in all of MLB, hasn’t had the start to his big-league career that either the player or the team had hoped for.
The 23-year-old Kieboom had a .556 OPS and 54 OPS+ in a limited engagement with the Nationals in 2020, and an even lesser .491 OPS across 43 plate appearances in 2019.
Not exactly numbers that pop off your screen.
However, Kieboom’s 2020 on-base percentage was .344, which is a very respectable figure as well as a testament of his ability to… get on base.
That’s at least something the Texas Rangers can work with.
But the Nats’ 2016 first round pick has also shown a penchant for power hitting (not unlike Lowe), having knocked 45 home runs over the fence in 1,462 career minor league plate appearances.
That power has yet to translate in the big leagues, but very well could with a change of scenery and the right opportunity.
The young infielder can play both shortstop and third base in the field, positions currently in limbo for Texas.
While Isiah Kiner-Falefa will reportedly get the first crack at winning the starting shortstop gig, he’s far from a lock there.
At third base, Rangers’ top prospect Josh Jung is expected to be ready to debut in 2021, but he likely won’t begin the season in Arlington.
Neither of those options are very appealing, for the record.
Kieboom’s recent top prospect status and minors success, as well as his versatility in the field and years of control all indicate that he won’t come cheap in any potential trade with Washington.
However, acquiring Nate Lowe wasn’t exactly a bargain buy for the Texas Rangers, either.
Perhaps a trade involving Elvis Andrus to replace Kieboom on Washington’s roster while sending Rangers’ No. 6 prospect infielder Maximo Acosta, No. 17 prospect right-hander Ronny Henriquez and cash to cover some of Andrus’ remaining contract would be enough to move the needle for the Nats.
If Texas actually did manage to deal for Kieboom, though, he could slot in as a cheap and controllable cornerstone piece to build around, as he isn’t expected to hit free agency until 2026.
Plus, imagine a potential future infield configuration of Josh Jung at third base, Carter Kieboom at shortstop, Anderson Tejeda at second base and Nate Lowe at first base.
That could prove to be quite the exciting around the horn combination down in Arlington.
At the very least, it’s curious that the Nationals would make a player with Kieboom’s pedigree available in any capacity.
That said, applying the same logic the Rangers used to acquire Nate Lowe might make sense in trying to snatch up another player with former top prospect status in need of a change of scenery and a new opportunity.