Texas Rangers News and Notes

by Dan M | Posted on Friday, January 3rd, 2020

 

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BY DIC HUMPHREY                                                                                                                                                    DHUMPHREY24@GMAIL

     ARLINGTON, Texas – It’s been a quiet couple of weeks in Arlington.  No big announcements, though with all the action at the winter meetings and the significant free agent signings leading up to Christmas,  it seems logical that there would be a pause in the action. The Rangers have announced hires for Major League bullpen coach and the manager at AAA Nashville, but still have the same holes to fill that they had three weeks ago.  Namely, a right handed middle of the order bat, third base center field, and catcher.

     As for third base, the Rangers appear out on Josh Donaldson.  He’s got three teams willing to commit around $100 million for a four year deal.  (Twins, Braves and Nationals.)  The Rangers have backed off from four years.  However, there is the idea that the Rangers might get into the fray late.

    The two “top of the line” third basemen that are possibly available in a trade are Nolan Arenado (Rockies) and Kris Bryant (Cubs).  Bryant’s grievance petitioning to become a free agent after the 2020 season as opposed to the 2021 season has not been ruled upon, so he is untradeable until that gets settled and teams know whether they are bargaining for one or two years of his service.

    The Rockies have been listening to ideas about trading Arenado, but some teams have come away with the impression the Rockies are not very motivated to move the seven time Gold Glove winner.  Tracy Ringolsby has covered Colorado for more than 30 years and insists that management considers last season, when they didn’t make the playoffs, an outlier.  If they thus believe they have a team capable of making the playoffs, Arenado is likely to be an integral part of their 2020 plans.  National writer Jon Paul Morosi this week however tweeted that the odds that Colorado trades Arenado are at least 50-50, surprisingly high.  

     Even if the Rockies do decide to trade Arenado, the Braves look to be the most likely landing spot.  They have a terrific farm system and can throw a better prospect package at the Rockies than the Rangers or Nationals, the two teams thought to be most interested in Arenado besides the Braves.

     Articles this week have indicated the Rangers have checked in on Todd Frazier.  Frazier hit .251 with a .772 OPS last season for the Mets in 133 games.  He’s about to turn 34 and simply isn’t as highly regarded as Bryant, Donaldson or Arenado.  He thus is probably a fallback position for the Rangers at third base, but could also fit as a right handed hitting counterpart to Ronald Guzman at first base, even if the Rangers end up with one of the more high regarded third basemen. 

    Other possibilities for the middle of the order bat are free agent outfielders Marcel Ozuna and Nicholas Castellanos.  Last year with St. Louis, Ozuna hit .241 with 29 home runs and 79 RBIs, good for an .800 OPS.  Castellanos hit .289 with 27 home runs and 73 RBIs for an .863 OPS.  He was traded from Detroit to the Cubs during the season and was especially good in 51 games with Chicago – .321 batting average with a 1.002 OPS.  

    Osuna was tendered a qualifying offer by the Cardinals, so the team signing him will forfeit a draft choice in next June’s amateur draft.  Castellanos was traded during the season, so was not eligible to receive a qualifying offer, and thus does not require draft choice forfeiture to the team that signs him.

    In regard to the catching situation, most of the free agents have signed.  The most recent signing was Jason Castro with the Angels this week.  Former Ranger Robinson Chirinos is still available and speculation continues that he could return to Texas this year.  After Castro signed, Chirinos is regarded as the best available free agent catcher, and he has also received interest from Pittsburgh, Houston, Colorado, and Tampa Bay in addition to the Rangers.  From the Rangers’ point, improving the catching situation takes a back seat to finding a middle of the order bat at this point.    

     Danny Santana played seven positions last year for the Rangers.  With the trade of Delino DeShields to Cleveland as part of the trade that landed starting pitcher Cory Kluber, Santana becomes the heir apparent to be the regular center fielder.  

    In other matters, the Rangers have named Doug Mathis as their bullpen coach.  He was Toronto’s AAA pitching coach last year and pitched for the Rangers in 2008-2010.

    Darwin Barney was named the manager at AAA Nashville.  Barney has not played since the 2017 season, but was once a slick fielding second baseman.  He has no previous managerial or coaching experience in professional baseball.

     The Rangers announced their 2019 awards.  

    Player of the Year:  Danny Santana

    Pitcher of the Year:  Mike Minor

    Rookie of the Year:  Nick Solak

    Harold McKinney Good Guy Award:  Shin-Soo Choo

    Richard Durrett Hardest Working Man Award:  Willie Calhoun 

    Here is a short list of key dates for Ranger fans:

    February 11:  Pitchers and catchers report to spring training.  

    February 16:  Position players report to spring training.

    February 24:  First spring training game verses Kansas City in Surprise, Arizona

    March 21:  Texas breaks camp.

    March 23:  First game at Globe Life Field verses St. Louis in an exhibition game.

    March 26:  Opening day verses the Mariners in Seattle.

    March 31:  Home opening game verses Los Angeles Angels.

 

 

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