How a free agent deadline could benefit the Texas Rangers.

Imagine the excitement of the summer trade deadline except in December. If Commissioner Rob Manfred gets his way that might happen.

Texas Rangers Introduce Jacob deGrom
Texas Rangers Introduce Jacob deGrom / Ben Ludeman/Texas Rangers/GettyImages
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How could the Texas Rangers use this to their benefit?

The best Texas Rangers offseason in recent memory did have an unofficial free agent deadline. In 2021 both players and teams knew a lockout was coming. Negotiations were not going anywhere between the two sides. It was known that free agency would come to a close when the lockdown commenced. Texas got busy in the days leading up to the lockout. They were able to sign Marcus Semien to a 7-year contract, Corey Seager to a 10-year contract, Jon Gray to a 4-year contract, and Kole Calhoun to a 1-year contract. It was a productive two days leading into the lockout. It was a baseball spending spree as several free agents signed in the days leading up to the lockout.

The Texas Rangers under Chris Young's leadership are not afraid to get involved with free agency. I think Texas would be aggressive and patient. They would work to get things done early, but also not be afraid of working to the deadline. They would take advantage of being centrally located and Texas being the off-season home of several players to be able to bring them into Arlington and show them around. They would sell them on being able to play for a winner. This ownership group has shown that they are not afraid to spend. Chris Young and his staff would maximize how much they can benefit from this rule change. They took advantage of the lockout deadline in 2021 and the trade deadline in 2023. This front office does some of its best work when faced with a deadline.

MLBPA was approached with this in 2022 during the last CBA negotiations and rejected it. I do not see that changing before the next CBA negotiations that are coming up in 2026. Owners would have to give the players a reason to accept it. The owners used the elimination of the qualifying offer as an incentive to institute an international draft. That did not work. They might have to offer that again to get players to accept a free-agency signing period. I would say there is about a 5% chance of this ever happening and that might be an optimistic percentage.

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