Surprise, surprise! The Texas Rangers were reportedly in on free agent first baseman Freddie Freeman prior to the MLB lockout.
Previously, reports had indicated that if the Texas Rangers were going to upgrade from Nathaniel Lowe at first base, it would likely be trading for Matt Olson. That would require the team to surrender prospect capital, and a lot of it, to the division rival Oakland A’s. From all accounts, the Rangers still seem to be strongly considering this move, and Olson is the type of player who would be worth the cost.
But if their attempts to lure Olson from the A’s go sour, is there a chance they could pivot back to Freeman again after the lockout? Here’s what CBS Sports had to say about this:
"“Still, Freeman drawing interest from other teams is no revelation; the Yankees have been connected to him here recently, and sources informed CBS Sports early in the offseason that both the Dodgers and the Rangers had at least some interest in him. (MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported the Blue Jays had also shown interest.)”"
The Texas Rangers were reportedly interested in Freddie Freeman prior to the MLB lockout
“Some” seems like a rather tepid word in this context, but interest is interest.
It would still be shocking to see Freddie Freeman end up anywhere else other than back in Atlanta for 2022 and beyond, but the possibility does exist that he leaves for a team willing to meet his contractual demands.
Freeman, like Olson, is a game-changer on the field. Known for his consistency at the plate and with the glove and a former MVP, Freeman is arguably the best first baseman in baseball. Adding him to an infield that has Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, along with Josh Jung at third base at some point in 2022 would give the Texas Rangers one of the best infields in the game.
Aiding the Rangers in their potential Freeman pursuit is the reported elimination of draft pick compensation as per the terms of the new CBA, which is still being negotiated. Because Freeman was given a qualifying offer, signing elsewhere would’ve netted the Braves a first round pick in return. Instead, the new CBA, when ratified, will do away with this practice. The idea of signing Freeman without surrendering more draft capital should definitely make him more appealing to Texas, as well as more realistic.
None of this is to indict Nathaniel Lowe, who is a solid option at first base. But if the opportunity arises to acquire Matt Olson via trade or Freddie Freeman in free agency, you at least kick the tires.