Grading the Texas Rangers’ pre-MLB lockout free agent acquisitions

Chris Bachman
Jul 25, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Kole Calhoun (56) reacts after striking out against the Chicago Cubs during the eight inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 25, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Kole Calhoun (56) reacts after striking out against the Chicago Cubs during the eight inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jul 25, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Kole Calhoun (56) reacts after striking out against the Chicago Cubs during the eight inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 25, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Kole Calhoun (56) reacts after striking out against the Chicago Cubs during the eight inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

As the MLB and MLBPA approach an inevitable lockout, many teams were busy making moves to bolster their roster while they could, but none were as aggressive as the Texas Rangers.

In fact, according to SI.com, the Rangers signed 2 of the top 5 free agents available in Marcus Semien (4) and Corey Seager (2). They also added starting pitching in form of Jon Gray (29) and outfield help with Kole Calhoun.

The Rangers set an all-time record in money committed during one offseason at $561.2 million, but there are still more moves to be made. With the team still expected to go after hometown kid Clayton Kershaw and the best player from overseas in OF Seiya Suzuki from Japan, the off-season surely isn’t over. Unfortunately, though, that will be the end of the fun until an agreement on the next CBA can be made.

So let’s take a look at who the Rangers have wrangled in and try to grade the deals they’ve made for their 2022 team.

Grading the Texas Rangers’ free agent signings

Kole Calhoun, OF -1 year/$5.2 million (team option in ’23 for $5.5 million)

Career numbers (10 years):

  • .248/.322/.427
  • 161 home runs
  • 105 OPS+
  • 15.6 WAR
  • 2015 Gold Glove- right field

Calhoun is most likely signed as outfield depth, and possible DH. He is s season vet who is what he is. At this point, you know what to expect from him. He has a career walk rate of 9% and a strikeout rate of 21%. He does hit for some power, having 33 home runs in 2019 but his career 3.7% home run rate does translate to 20-25 home runs across a full season.

His signing is akin to Charlie Culberson/Brock Holt from last year. An experienced, reliable player intended for depth but will get a decent shot to start. The downside to the contract is the amount. Now, just over $5 million isn’t exactly breaking the bank, but following last year’s power shortage (his main appeal) maybe he could’ve been had for $3 million. That’s not much to complain about, and there’s not much invested if he busts. If he pays off perhaps he could be trade bait (Soler, Duvall) which the Rangers are a bit short on.

Grade: B

If he busts that’s still $5 million down the drain. There is no buy-out for ’23 and there really isn’t TOO much to complain about the deal other than that could’ve been money spent on someone else.

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