Lobby Talk: Patience, my friend, patience
December, 11, 2013
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
Dustin Bradford/Getty ImagesShin-Soo Choo's struggles against lefties last season is a concern for some teams.Note: Periodically during the winter meetings, we'll post some of the chatter going on in the lobby in regards to players the Texas Rangers may be interested in this week at Disney World.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- There's a noticeable lack of excitement and activity in the lobby of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Heck, I was pumped when the Chick-fil-A cow showed up yesterday. And we're waiting for Mickey to swing by too.
It just isn't the same as it's been the past few years, in large part because of how massive last week was in the baseball world. So many signings and deals occurred even before teams and agents arrived in Orlando.
But because of that activity, there may be an advantage to playing the waiting game now for the Rangers. They still want a bat and two logical choices on the free-agent market remain in Shin-Soo Choo and Nelson Cruz.
Choo would give the club a true leadoff hitter and fill an outfield need. But agent Scott Boras is seeking a deal similar to what Jacoby Ellsbury received (seven years, $153 million) and the Rangers aren't comfortable doing that. A few scouts in the lobby noted that the issue with Choo and his splits (he hit .215 against lefties last year with none of his 21 homers coming against them) is that he could be a true platoon player in a few years. Do you want to be paying him like a starter well into his 30s?
Cruz knows this is his final shot at a long-term deal and appears to be wanting a four-year deal. The Rangers would prefer something in the two-year or two-year plus an option range. But you wonder if the two sides could meet somewhere in that three-year area and get this done.
But here's the thing: The markets for Choo and Cruz appear to be shrinking. The Detroit Tigers signed Rajai Davis, meaning they don't need Choo. The Red Sox don't appear very interested. The Reds are said to have interest, but would need to make a trade to sign him. The Mariners could certainly go out and make another massive signing, so they're sitting out there. But it's not as if there appear to be a ton of takers for Choo.
So why not wait? The club wants a shorter-term deal for Cruz. He's comfortable in Texas and the Rangers know that. What if the market for Choo continues to dwindle and his price comes down? Then the Rangers, perhaps, would have their choice. Patience could be the key here. There's no reason to rush.
The Rangers continue to check in on various secondary players to either fill out the bench or to have backup, complementary pieces should Cruz and Choo (and other trade opportunities) fall through. That includes Eric Chavez, a player manager Ron Washington is familiar with from Oakland. Chavez, in fact, credited Washington for helping him win a Gold Glove. The Rangers are obviously covered at third base, but could use a backup that can hit off the bench. Jamey Carroll is another utility infield candidate, as first reported by Jon Heyman.
Getting some buzz from teams that have at least discussed Mitch Moreland. Whether that turns into anything remains to be seen.
There hasn't been much talk of arms when it comes to the Rangers. It doesn't mean they don't want to add depth. They do. But when it comes to the bullpen, it's on the back burner a bit right now.
Rumors are we should find out more about whether this posting system for players coming from Japan has been approved on Thursday. But that's just a rumor.
Lots of folks talking about how it's about time that Eric Nadel won the Ford C. Frick Award. He's well-respected and well-liked in the industry. Rangers fans, be thankful you have him.