As the season wound down, Nomar Mazara saw less and less action in right field. He played in just seven games in September.
After driving in 101 runs in 2017, Mazara’s production has dropped, first to 77 RBIs, then, last season, to 66.
His OPS+, which measures a batter’s offensive output against the rest of the league, was 96 in 2019. 100 is league average. Mazara was under that. In fact, he has never had an OPS+ over 100 in his entire career. He’s been a slightly-less-than-average offensive hitter. And his defense is sup-par as well.
The excuse that he is young is getting old. Mazara has yet to turn the corner the Rangers have been waiting for.
Right field had been his. Not anymore. With Joey Gallo being slotted for a corner outfield position, it would seem to be right field (I’d suggest left). Mazara will be the odd man out. Look to him being dealt.
In spite of Mazara’s mediocrity, right field was, like left, a rare position of comparative strength for the Rangers. In fact, they had the best production in right of any team in the A.L. West.
Credit that to the strong offensive performance of Joey Gallo, Hunter Pence, and Shin-Soo Choo, who all logged considerable time in right.
The Rangers have a logjam in the outfield. Too many outfielders. Too many outfielders who can’t make contact. Too many outfielder and not enough offense.
They won’t get much for Mazara, not as much as they could have gotten after his 100 RBI year. Package him with a prospect and the Rangers might get a starter who slots in fourth or fifth. Which would be right for an outfielder who does the same.
Having said they have too many outfielders, I’d suggest, if the Rangers want to get stronger for the future, they should sign free agent right fielder Nicholas Castellanos. He bats right, he’s just 27, he’s an offensive force, he’s a doubles machine, and he’s been well above league average in OPS+ most of his career. After being dealt to the Cubs at the deadline, he hit .351 with an OPS of 1.002.
The guy is a hitter.
He would be a godsend to a team that is desperately lacking offense. Move Gallo to left, put Santana in center, have Calhoun be the fourth outfielder/DH, ready to jump into an every day role when someone gets injured, as they always do, and ready to become the DH next year when Choo is gone, or at the deadline if the Rangers are able to trade Choo to a contender looking for offense, and suddenly the Rangers would have a strong offensive outfield.
And, Castellanos will be here when Gallo leaves for free agency in 2023.
Here are the available free agent right fielders.
Tomorrow, designated hitter.