Grades for Texas Rangers' Offseason Moves
The Texas Rangers’ offseason has been fairly quiet so far in 2013.
It is quite similar to last year, where Texas was linked to marquee names in the free-agent market. This year, they have been rumored to be in the running for players such as Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann.
Moves can still be made that will cause big noise. The team is linked to players like Nelson Cruz and David Price, and may even be the front-runner to ink Shin-Soo Choo. And since Texas is looking for another outfielder, don’t be surprised if either Cruz or Choo land in Arlington.
We’re going to grade some of the moves the Rangers have made thus far. Grades will be given on whether or not a need was filled and the caliber of the player.
Players signed to minor league deals will not be graded.
All stats from baseball-reference.com.
Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder
Fielder provides power the team lacked in 2013 and is a solid run-producer. His home run total from last season (25) should increase in his new ballpark and with Adrian Beltre hitting behind him. He also has a career .389 OBP, another category the Rangers struggled in last season.
The move also got rid of the logjam in the middle infield, giving Jurickson Profar a chance to play every day. The 20-year-old can now prove why the Rangers decided not to deal him anywhere.
Getting a power bat and opening up the middle infield were two things the team had to do this offseason. Plus, the Tigers sent $30 million to the Rangers as part of the deal.
This one-for-one trade took care of both, and it gets an A for a grade.
Re-Signing Jason Frasor
The Texas bullpen was arguably the strongest component of the team last season.
It only took the Rangers 11 days after their season ended to bring back Jason Frasor. He finished the year with a 2.57 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 49 innings. He also produced the second best WHIP of his career (1.143) and gave up the fewest runs (14).
He is only going to cost Texas $1.75 million for the 2014 season. Frasor is 36 years old but put together his best season as a big leaguer last year.
Based off his campaign last season, bringing Frasor back is big for the Rangers. It helps keep one of the best bullpens in all of baseball intact, and for that this move gets a B+.
Re-Signing Geovany Soto
Even before Texas was a favorite to get Brian McCann, the team brought back Geovany Soto for another year.
General manager Jon Daniels said Soto was signed to be the primary catcher, which seems to be the case now. They missed out on McCann, Dioner Navarro and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and signed J.P. Arencibia.
Soto played in just 54 games in 2013 as the backup to A.J. Pierzynski. He had a .245 batting average with nine homers in his limited time. He became Yu Darvish’s battery mate towards the end of the season and mainly batted against left-handed pitching.
The Puerto Rico native will obviously see more time behind the plate this season. Don’t expect him to put numbers up like his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2008, but he is a solid option at catcher.
Soto only cost the Rangers $3.05 million for the year and fills the void at catcher. For that, this move gets a B.
Craig Gentry, Josh Lindblom for Michael Choice, Chris Bostick
I thought Craig Gentry would have been a solid option to lead off for the Rangers in 2014.
That turned out to be short-lived when he and Josh Lindblom were shipped to Oakland for outfielder Michael Choice and second baseman Chris Bostick.
Gentry had the best year of his career in 2013, posting career highs in stolen bases (24), runs (39) and walks (29). In fact, his 29 walks were more than the previous four years combined.
Barring the potential of signing Choo or Cruz, Choice has the opportunity to be the left fielder for the Rangers in 2014. He is currently No. 91 on MLB.com’s top 100 prospect list. He had 14 homers and 89 RBI in 132 games for Triple-A Sacramento.
Texas gave a veteran for the upside in Choice, who is praised for his raw power. Either guy could have started for the Rangers next season, but the team is constantly looking to add more power.
Since they did add some extra power and got younger with Choice (24 years old), they receive a B- for the trade.
Signing J.P. Arencibia
As previously mentioned, there were far better options in the free-agent market at catcher.
Bringing in J.P. Arencibia is hardly what Rangers fans were expecting. He had a horrendous .194 batting average in 138 games last year and struck out 148 times.
His 11 errors last season were the most by a catcher in the American League in 2013, and he had a league-high 13 passed balls. Arencibia is also vulnerable to base stealers, allowing the fifth most stolen bases (62) last season.
The former Tennessee Volunteer did hit 21 home runs last year and has at least 18 the past three seasons. He provides some extra right-handed power in the lineup and could be best used as a pinch hitter.
The Rangers now have two catchers on the roster, both on one-year deals. The team could have done better than Arencibia but the deal only cost them $1.8 million. They get a C for this acquisition.
Re-Signing Adam Rosales
Texas added some infield depth with the re-signing of Adam Rosales.
Rosales had quite the year in 2013, being designated for assignment three times by Oakland and once by the Rangers. He finished the year with a .197 batting average, hitting five homers and five doubles in limited time.
The 30-year-old has never played more than 87 games in a season and probably won’t come close to it in 2014. His job will simply be to fill in at second, third and shortstop when days off are assigned. He will also most likely be a defensive replacement and pinch run late in ballgames.
The Rangers brought him back on a one-year deal that is worth $750,000. This move isn’t a game changer, but Rosales will be a decent player to have come off the bench. The team gets a C+.
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