2) Texas trades Ezequiel Duran and/or Leody Taveras
It has already been reported that with teams not being enamored with the bats currently on the market that trade talks for position players have picked up at the GM Meeting. Texas could certainly cash in on these trade talks by dangling Duran or Taveras. The value of both has certainly ticked up after the 2023 season.
Duran had an excellent first half for Texas especially during that month when he filled in for an injured Corey Seager. He was talked about as a potential all-star after his first half. It was thought when Ohtani was being discussed in trades that Duran would be able to lead a trade package that would have brought Ohtani to Texas.
Duran finished the season with respectable numbers considering it was his first full major league season. He finished with a .276 batting average, 14 home runs, and a .768 OPS. He played both the infield and outfield for Texas. He still has a high ceiling and is only 24 years old.
Taveras is the one I am sure Texas would love to be able to keep on their roster. He had a good season in 2023 both offensively and defensively. Of these two Taveras probably has more value and could bring back more in a trade. Taveras is a future gold glove center fielder. He continues to improve offensively and his approach at the plate is getting better. He had several big hits in this postseason run. The two-run double against the Orioles in game two of the ALDS and a home run against Justin Verlander in game one of the ALCS. Taveras also had the all-important ninth-inning walk in World Series game one that set up Seager's memorable two-run home run that tied the game.
Texas does have Evan Carter ready to play center in case Taveras is traded. That should not be the reason Taveras is traded. Carter can play left as he showed in the postseason. Taveras should only be traded if the return would improve the roster more than losing Taveras would damage it. If trading Taveras can bring back young controllable starting pitching or relief options then I think Texas will have to consider it.
Taveras finished 2023 with a .266 batting average, 14 home runs, and a .733 OPS. He was excellent defensively as he finished second in the American League in putouts by a center fielder with 357. He finished behind Luis Roberts of the Chicago White Sox and ahead of Julio Rodriguez of the Mariners.
I would say of the two Duran is more likely to be traded, but if the return for Taveras is really enticing Chris Young might have a hard time saying no. One of them will be traded though as Texas will be looking to bring back young pitching or improve the bullpen. These two might be two of the more valuable pieces Texas is able to trade and not damage the roster.