No Time to Cry – Texas Rangers and Free Agency

Apr 27, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels introduces newly signed outfielder Josh Hamilton before the game between the Rangers and the Seattle Mariners at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

JUST a Bit Outside

In just a 24-hour window, the Texas Rangers have missed out on who many believed were their two top free-agency targets.

Nicholas Castellanos and the Cincinnati Reds agreed to terms on a 4-year, $64M deal. The Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to trade Starling Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks for right-handed pitcher Brennan Malone and shortstop Liover Peguero. Angry Rangers fans agreed that General Manager Jon Daniels is the absolute worst.

Hold up, wait a minute! Are we talking about the same Jon Daniels who went out and traded for former All-Star and Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber? The same who admitted fault in prior decisions and re-signed fan-favorite catcher Robinson Chirinos? Surely we don’t mean the guy who went out and signed THE top reliever in all of Japanese baseball, Joely Rodriguez. I’m not here to tell you that you’re wrong, because technically, opinions can’t be wrong. But the Rangers have arguably a top-5 rotation in all of the American League because of these moves. On the other hand, statements from Daniels have hinted at the fact that they’ve raised payroll and would be competitive in adding top free agents on the offensive side of the roster, and that simply hasn’t happened.

Not only did we miss out on Castellanos and Marte, but also on Anthony Rendon, Josh Donaldson and likely more. So, where do we go now? The cap space is there and so is the need for another right-handed bat. Is there life out there? Can we land any of it without giving up too much in return? Here are some names who have my gears turning.

Kevin Pillar

The 31-year-old Pillar began the season with the Toronto Blue Jays but was traded to the San Francisco Giants only about a week after opening day. A human highlight reel with the glove, Pillar would ease some unrest due to the lack of a “real centerfielder” on the Rangers roster. Danny Santana, who is currently expected to be the every day CF, had a great season at the plate but committed 15 total errors over the course of the season. The addition of Pillar would free up Santana to resume his “super-utility” role, while still remaining in the daily lineup. Pillar has a substantial platoon advantage over LHP. He slashed .278/.305/.519, striking out only 9% of the time in 174 plate appearances in 2019.

Domingo Santana

Domingo Santana is someone I would personally welcome under one condition. That condition would be that he make a permanent move to 1B. The guy is simply a defensive negative, no matter what the highlights show you. Fangraphs shows a -8.05 UZR and a -10 DEF rating. However, considering what’s left on the board for Texas Rangers free agency at this point, and how poorly Ronald Guzman performed against LHP in 2019, Domingo Santana has some value. Especially for the Texas Rangers, who need some help vs. LHP. In addition, Domingo Santana is a huge target. Much like Guzman and the Texas Light Tower of Power, Joey Gallo, he stands at 6’5 and is hard to miss. His power numbers, both totals and averages, do slightly dip vs. RHP, but again, if our alternative is Ronald Guzman, we deserve to see some competition at 1B.

Cameron Maybin

As far as the Texas Rangers’ 4th OF position goes, there isn’t much competition outside of Scott Heineman. Adolis Garcia, who is an absolute tank, and Leody Taveras, who has plus-speed and a plus-arm for CF, just aren’t ready for major league ball right now. Undoubtedly, Garcia is closer than Taveras, but my own personal opinion is that either or both should spend a season in Nashville to develop.

I’d like to see Cameron Maybin come in on a 1-year deal as an option in the 4th OF spot behind Willie Calhoun, Danny Santana, and Joey Gallo. Santana had a career year in 2019 and only time will tell if he can sustain that production. If not, a proven veteran like Maybin could be very beneficial. In 2019, Maybin hit .285/.364/.494 in 82 games played with the New York Yankees.

Continuous Improvement

Rangers fans, I get it. The team is coming off a few disappointing seasons and you feel as if promises aren’t being kept. Conversely, after 67 wins in 2018 and 78 in 2019, the current roster is poised for further improvement. The Texas Rangers’ free-agency moves made by the front office are positive steps toward competing for an AL West title again. Whether we choose to be down on the team for missing out on specific free agents, the facts remain true. Most importantly, 3B is addressed, the SP rotation is top-notch due to THREE new acquisitions, the bullpen is full of young, motivated men with loads of talent, and the catcher position is no longer an automatic out. 85+ wins in 2020. Book it, baby.

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