Monday, December 9, 2013
Texas still shopping a bit as meetings begin
By Richard Durrett
Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and his staff didn't waste any time jumping into the fray of this offseason. They traded for power-hitting first baseman Prince Fielder, agreed to terms with two catchers (J.P. Arencibia's deal isn't done until he passes a physical) and acquired Michael Choice from the Oakland A's, giving them another option in left field should nothing else materialize.
But the club still has money in the bank and some assets in the minor leagues, meaning that the Rangers can go shopping for items still on the shelves. With the baseball world descending to Disney World, though, those shelves aren't what they were a month ago. Heck, they're not what they were just a week ago. It's been an active offseason with more early signings (and even trades) than normal.
Possibilities still remain, though. Choice is a young player with high potential, but the Rangers continue to search for another bigger bat for the lineup. The question is whether they'll find the prices to their liking this week. Now that Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran are off the market Shin-Soo Choo becomes a player to watch. There are some that expect Choo to get close to Ellsbury's seven-year, $153 million deal. If that's where it ends up, I'm not sure the Rangers will be the team that signs him. They must decide if Choo is worth that many years.
Nelson Cruz is available, though Texas appears hesitant for anything past two or three years for the outfielder, who may want to see if he can get a four-year deal elsewhere. If he does leave, the Rangers would receive a draft pick in return (and if they sign Choo, for instance, they would lose one).
Disney World isn't a bad spot to discuss trades and those teams with a surplus of outfielders might at least check in with Texas to see if there's anything that makes sense. The Rangers could also look to fill some bench spots and add to the club's starting pitching depth. David Price's name could be circulated and the Rangers would have to at least discuss the possibility, but if that's not in the cards, they could grab some more arms to bring to spring training and see what happens.
One other thing to keep an eye on: the posting situation with Masahiro Tanaka. If he is posted and the deal agreed upon is a maximum of $20 million posting fee per team with Tanaka choosing the team if there are more than one with that fee, why not jump in if you're Texas and see what happens? It's a long shot, but you never know.
We'll be keeping an eye on all of it.