The Risk – For Both Juan Soto and the Texas Rangers
The most obvious hesitance towards a Soto-to-Texas deal is that it requires a steep investment. So steep, in fact, that the Texas Rangers would have to dig into one of their healthiest farm systems in decades. Chris Young and Jon Daniels’ partnership as the forefront of Rangers management these last 18 months has been nothing short of an outstanding success.
Despite last year’s hellish tank and a team so close, right on the cusp of contention this season, the moves being made are propelling the team into a new chapter, filled with hope and ambition. Feelings we haven’t had in Arlington towards the long-term future in a *really* long time. Texas has two of the most enticing pitching arms in the country in Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter, both of whom will be pitching in the Majors in less than two full seasons.
They have turned Leody Taveras into not only a serviceable, but confident and productive MLB hitter. They hauled in Josh Smith and Ezequiel Duran, who have both shown flashes of brilliance in their 2022 Rangers debuts, from a Joey Gallo trade that initially left many fans – including myself – somewhat puzzled. They have an MLB-ready bat in Josh Jung, whenever he completes rehabbing his shoulder injury this fall.
Juan Soto means a couple of those guys have to go. Not all, but some. So where does that leave the team? Rhetorically speaking. Sitting idle and waiting for players to develop and then spending all your money once they all flourish means years of more tanking and depleted interest in a losing team. Rushing guys severely hurts their chances of finding stability in the league.
When Texas signed Semien and Seager in November, it wasn’t a desperation move to try to win instantly. That was a strategic strike to lock up two cornerstones of the lineup for the next five to seven years, at least, as the team starts to churn out some of those prospects.
My thoughts? Juan Soto being paired with Semien and Seager, who have both enjoyed punctual resurgences this summer after hefty paydays, makes this offense one of the most potent in the league on paper. The Texas Rangers want to win. In order to win, bad to average teams need to acquire better players. As good as Juan Soto is at hitting baseballs, he’s probably not going to require a package that requires each and every one of the Rangers high-ceiling prospects.
However, I also believe that when players like Soto become available, there is no asking price too high. The Rangers haven’t won a playoff series since the 2011 ALCS. They haven’t won a playoff game since 2015. They haven’t posted a winning season since 2016. I can’t encourage fans enough to get excited about deals like this.
Even if Soto ends up going to Los Angeles or New York or somewhere with much greener pastures, the fact that the Rangers are in a spot to throw their hat into the ring for players as good as Juan Soto, while at the same time continue to construct a team that cares about producing young, homegrown talent alongside proven veterans, is not something that should be taken for granted.