Texas Rangers: Anthony Santander is an underrated target for outfield help
By Seth Carlson
It would be an understatement to suggest that the Texas Rangers need outfield help. We’ve written this many times before and will do so again here.
Recently, we listed off some top free agent options the Rangers could target to satisfy their outfield issue, but now we turn to a trade candidate that is easily flying under the radar: the Baltimore Orioles’ Anthony Santander.
The Orioles’ Anthony Santander could satisfy the Texas Rangers’ need for an outfield upgrade
Santander isn’t 2021 All-Star Cedric Mullins, but he’s pretty good in his own right with both the bat and glove. This past season with Baltimore, Santander smashed 18 home runs in 110 games along with a .720 OPS and 92 OPS+. Those numbers, while unspectacular, would’ve easily been the best among the Texas Rangers outfielders in 2021, behind only Adolis Garcia and Joey Gallo prior to his trade to the Yankees.
Keep in mind that the Rangers’ combined outfield WAR was negative in 2021, or in other words, below replacement level. Santander, for comparison, was worth 0.2 bWAR in 2021, which is slightly above the MLB average. For a below average unit, average production certainly would’ve helped! Playing for the abysmal Orioles and finishing with a positive WAR also reflects very well on Santander.
With the glove, Santander grades out fairly decently, and profiles more like a corner outfielder, but is capable of playing center field. With Adolis Garcia’s positional flexibility, the Texas Rangers wouldn’t have a problem letting Santander stay at a corner given his bat alone.
Luckily for the Rangers, their defense in the outfield is already pretty strong. However, there should be a desire to sacrifice some of that defense for more production at the plate, particularly given how little they received from anyone at the position not named El Bombi in 2021.
Santander is 27, so he’s in the prime of his career. He’s also a switch-hitter! How’s that for an upgrade?
The cost to acquire him wouldn’t be nearly as expensive as Cedric Mullins, though Santander does have three more years of arbitration remaining (through 2024), so that wouldn’t make him cheap, either. Perhaps a few mid-level prospects could get the job done for the Texas Rangers in a hypothetical trade.
If the Rangers fail to land a big ticket free agent to bolster their outfield, Anthony Santander is definitely worth a look on the trade market. Even with free agency aside, he’s still a very quality option for a Texas team in desperate need of talent in the outfield.