The majority of offseason moves have officially been completed for the Texas Rangers. Pitchers and catchers report on Wednesday the 15th and it is officially no longer football season. Yet the Rangers have an unfilled hole in left field which still needs to be addressed.
What options do the Texas Rangers have and who are some options to help secure a playoff berth? Well, Chris Young told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News that the Texas Rangers will, “see what the options are both internally and externally.”
While the answer is quite vague, it is worth looking at the options at Chris Young’s disposal, starting internally.
The Texas Rangers external options in the outfield leave a lot to be desired
At the time of this writing, FanGraph’s RosterResorce page has Josh Smith pegged to be the Opening Day starter out in left field but he will also be competing with Bubba Thompson for the spot once Spring Training starts up.
Neither were spectacular with the bat last season and Smith got more runs but when looking at the numbers I find Bubba Thompson to be the more valuable player. Thompson had 18 steals to Smith’s 4 and a 68-point advantage in the batting average department.
Neither were better than league average unfortunately, with Josh Smith sporting a OPS+ of 63 and Thompson with a 77. But what they do provide is versatility in the outfield and they certainly won’t be liabilities with both of them providing positive Outs Above Average (Smith 1, Thompson 2).
If they do decide to stick with an internal piece I really hope they decide on Thompson and his abilities. The enlarged bases should only help Thompson who swiped 18 bags in only 55 bags. If he can manage to keep that pace 50-60 steals would not be out of the question for him.
Whose available in the free agent pool or for trade for the Texas Rangers?
Starting with the free agent pool the “notable names” are Jackie Bradley Jr., Odubel Herrera, and Jurickson Profar. The only member of these three that I would want to see on the Texas Rangers come spring would be Profar, who has spent some time with Rangers organization previously.
Once a top prospect, Profar fell off the map a bit but had a nice little breakout for the Padres. At the moment, no team seems to be in the mood to take a swing at him, hence his availability. Spotrac projects him to earn around $14.9M AAV and compared him to players like Anthony Rizzo and Mark Canha. So what gives?
It appears his hard hit rates are a red flag with a lot of teams. Profar sits at 22nd percentile in AVG EV and14th in Barrel%. To go along with a Outs Above Average in the 9th percentile and a Sprint Speed in the 32nd percentile.
It appears that fans just wanted to see some flashes of what they expected and took Profar’s 1st Half and ran with it. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Rangers pick up Profar, but it’s got to be for less than whatever it is he’s asking for.
In terms of trade, the big name that comes up is Bryan Reynolds. But the Pirates want an arm and a leg (aka multiple top prospects and change). It just doesn’t seem worth it for a team like the Texas Rangers whose window is just opening up to shell out so much high end talent for one player, granted a top-end one.
If the Texas Rangers were to make a trade for an outfielder I’d expect it to be in July when the bottom-feeders are selling and they can scoop someone up with an expiring contract or one with a year or two left. Some names that jump out to me are Joc Pederson, Ian Happ, and Harrison Bader.
The best option for the Rangers is see what they’ve got in either Bubba Thompson or Josh Smith and make a move if they feel it’s necessary at the deadline. Unless Profar moves his price down I like their current options better than him, especially with how much money they’ve shelled out already this offseason.
Should the Rangers be in contention, or a Wild Card spot, or better yet the AL West title (a man can dream), an addition of one of the three guys I’ve mentioned above could really balance out an already potent lineup.
Spring Training is right around the corner. I can not wait to see what this team has in store for us in 2023.