Did the Texas Rangers just pull off the steal of the offseason?

The Texas Rangers may have just pulled off the steal of the off season.

New General Manager, Chris Young, has wasted no time leaving his fingerprints all over this offseason for the Texas Rangers. The club has been the busiest team of the offseason, making a number of moves over the past couple of weeks.

The fury of action began with the Lance Lynn deal. This move garnered the most attention and rightfully so. Since then, Texas added 1B Nate Lowe, collected assets in separate trades involving Rafael Montero and Scott Heineman, resigned RHP Jimmy Herget, along with a few other minor league contract deals.

But, I want to highlight another free agent the Rangers have inked to a deal with just this week; a deal that may just wind up being the steal of the offseason.

Previous success

There has never been much question about David Dahl‘s talent. As a 1st round pick (10th overall) by the Colorado Rockies in 2012, Dahl was drafted straight out of Oak Mountain High School (Birmingham, AL). Dahl decided to sign with the Rockies rather than follow through with his commitment to Auburn University.

Dahl has seen a ton of success at both the amateur and pro levels. In high school, Dahl made varsity his freshman year. At 17, he was selected to play for the United States 18-and-under national baseball team. Dahl’s senior season was highlight by a .412 BA and 18 stolen bases.

Dahl’s first pro experience came in the rookie-level Pioneer League where he played for Grand Junction Rockies – a previous affiliate of MLB’s Colorado Rockies. He was named the Pioneer League Most Valuable Player in 2012 at the age of 18.

Dahl’s Major League debut came July 25, 2016. The outfielder appeared in 63 games that year, and impressed, hitting .315/.359/.500 with 7 homers.

Dahl holds a career .286 BA with a .828 OPS. He’s collected 38 HRs over 938 career ABs.

Talent has never been the issue for Dahl; It’s staying on the field.

The issue

Since being a full-time big leaguer, Dahl’s games played per season are as follows:

  • 2017 – 0
  • 2018- 77
  • 2019 – 100
  • 2020 – 24 (of 60)

After missing the entirety of the 2017 season due to injury, Dahl bounced back in 2018 when he blasted a career-best 16 HRs while posting an OPS of .859. In 2019, the Alabama native was able to stay on the field for much of the first half of the season. He appeared in 100 games that year and was good enough to be named to the National League All Star Team. But injuries derailed his second half and plagued his 2020 season as well. In 24 games in 2020, Dahl hit just .183 with no HRs.

On December 2nd, the Rockies surprised baseball by non-tendering the 26-year-old.

On December 12th, the Rangers signed Dahl to a 1-year deal worth $2.7 million.

Steal of the winter?

At just 26, the former 1st round pick has a lot to offer. He should slide into the starting left field spot Opening Day for the Rangers.

Chris Young and Jon Daniels get an A+ for this one. Dahl is under team control through 2023, meaning he won’t hit free agency until then. Coming off a last place AL finish, the Rangers need offense, young talent, and, more specifically, an every day left fielder. Dahl checks all those boxes.

Yes, David Dahl had a really bad 2020. But are we not giving just about everyone a pass during such a weird season? Letting Dahl walk could easily be a decision the Rockies regret really soon. For Texas, this may be a much needed boost in the midst of a full-on rebuild. Even if this doesn’t work out, the Rangers paid pennies for Dahl, snatching him up at an opportune time. It should be noted his $2.7 million deal does include $300,000 worth of incentives.

If Dahl can stay healthy, you’re looking at the greatest bargain of 2020.

Best case scenario: 

Dahl bounces back from a down year and returns to his 2019, All Star form. He immediately establishes himself as the Rangers best hitter and leads the team in most major hitting categories.

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Worst case scenario: 

Injuries prevent Dahl from staying on the field once again. His career comes to a non-glamourous end in Arlington and is left with many “what could have been?” questions.