It’s not a question whether the Texas Rangers will continue to be active post-lockout, but rather one of what positions they will target once the work stoppage is lifted.
We know the team will be in the market for pitching and outfield upgrades, as those are the Rangers’ most glaring weaknesses at the moment, but what about first base?
Texas doesn’t have a hole, per se, at first base after acquiring Nathaniel Lowe from the Tampa Bay Rays prior to the 2021 season. He was solid, after all. But there’s clearly a contingent within the Rangers’ organization that feels an upgrade at the position is at least worth exploring. And that upgrade could be Oakland’s Matt Olson, per Evan Grant and MLB Trade Rumors.
If the Texas Rangers decide to upgrade at first base, it might only be with Matt Olson
Olson is undoubtedly one of the best first basemen in the game, coming off a season in which he mashed 39 home runs, and adding his bat to a lineup that has already gotten better with Corey Seager and Marcus Semien would speed up the Texas Rangers’ timeline for contention.
But if the Rangers are going to make a move to upgrade at first base, it could be Olson or bust:
"“Notably, Grant adds that if Olson isn’t acquired, first base isn’t likely to be a priority for the Rangers. A pursuit of Olson, then, seemingly isn’t about being dissatisfied with the work Lowe has put in, but rather about jumping at the opportunity to grab an elite player with multiple years of club control remaining.”"
Freddie Freeman is currently a free agent, which matters in this context because Freeman is the only first baseman of comparable ilk to Olson available to teams at the moment. And we can gather that Texas isn’t interested in the longtime Braves’ star based on the latest rumors.
Based on this information, therefore, it’s possible that the Rangers are taking a Matt Olson or bust approach to upgrading at first base.
If Texas is going to trade away prospects for controllable assets, and to a division rival in the A’s no less, it had better be for a player like Matt Olson, who is a game-changer on the field. His cost already wasn’t going to be cheap, but an in-division “tax” wouldn’t be out of the question here, either. I wouldn’t expect the Rangers to deal away Josh Jung, Jack Leiter or Cole Winn in any potential trade, but anyone just below them could very well be on the table in trade talks to acquire Matt Olson.
Sometimes, you’re in the right place at the right time. And the Texas Rangers could be in that position when it comes to a Matt Olson trade.