There have been some very interesting reports to come out of the the first day of the winter meetings in Orlando, Fla.
T.R. Sullivan, Texas Rangers beat writer for MLB.com, is reporting that the Rangers are focused on Shin-Soo Choo or Nelson Cruz. Remember, though, that Choo will cost a fortune, no matter how you slice it. His agent is Scott Boras, and although Boras has a great relationship with Rangers general manager Jon Daniels—thanks to successful negotiations with Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus—he won't give JD a friendship discount price.
Sullivan is also reporting that the Philadelphia Phillies are rumored to be shopping young star outfielder Domonic Brown. They are reportedly seeking young pitching in return. If this rumor is true, the Rangers should be listening and should be serious about at least making an offer.
Let's take a look at this potential situation.
Brown would cost the Rangers quite a bit. He's only 26 and is probably the Phillies' best outfielder.
Why He Makes Sense
Brown plays left field, and he would solve that hole for the Rangers immediately.
He also has a big bat, even if he's only shown it in one season so far. In 2013, he hit 27 home runs and 83 RBI while hitting .272 in 496 at-bats, per ESPN. For a .272 batting average, his OBP of .324 seemed a bit low. But his strikeout rate was 19.5 percent, which is very solid for a big power hitter with a long swing. It's worth noting as well that he was a National League All-Star last season.
Those numbers are very similar to Nelson Cruz's production last season. Brown's bat would be able to add an offensive spark immediately. He also has some speed, as evidenced by his four triples last season.
Additionally, Brown is young and could be controlled for a long time. According to Baseball-Reference.com, he is pre-arbitration eligible in 2014 and is arbitration eligible for the first time in 2015. He won't hit free agency until 2018.
The arbitration processes that he's due to undergo might be tricky for the Rangers, but if they make the trade that will be needed for him, there shouldn't be any problem keeping him around.
Why He Doesn't Make Sense
Brown's defense in left field is average. Per ESPN, his defensive wins above replacement (DWAR) in 2013 was minus-1.4. He played 1,124 innings in left field last year and posted a .975 fielding percentage. He committed five errors in 199 total chances.
Brown's defensive WAR stat slightly concerns me. As we've seen, the AL West is a tight division, and it can absolutely come down to one game in the standings.
In addition, he would likely cost the Rangers more than they might want to give up. The Phillies want young pitching. A mix of starters and relievers could be put together in a package, but I fear it will be too much.
I have no problem with the team sending off Alexi Ogando and maybe even Nick Tepesch. But the deal might also require a Luke Jackson or Alex Gonzales. If the Phillies ask for Martin Perez, I would definitely turn away from this. After all, Brown has only produced big numbers in one season. He's young, yes, but he is by no means an established hitter.
Here's a deal I'd offer Philly for Brown. If I'm JD, I'm saying take it or leave it at this: Alexi Ogando, Nick Tepesch/Robbie Ross and Cody Buckel.
That probably doesn't get Brown to Texas, but the offer is about as far as I personally would be willing to comfortably go. I would maybe consider throwing in Luis Sardinas, only because he is blocked by Elvis Andrus and Jurickson Profar. But I wouldn't necessarily be comfortable with that addition to the deal.
While Brown would immediately fill the left field hole, I'm not willing to include any high-end pitching prospects in the deal for him.
This is an incredibly interesting and creative option for Daniels, but I think this club will be better served by passing on this deal. However, that should not completely stop the Rangers from trying to open negotiations. If JD can find the "right deal" that he's been preaching about all offseason, I would love for the Rangers have Brown.
What do you think? How much would you offer Philadelphia for Brown?