And now, the first addition of Piling On, my periodic answering the questions T.R. Sullivan also answers in his mlb.com mailbag, reprinted without permission.
Why potentially sign Nicholas Castellanos to play first base? He’s been passable defensively in right field in his career. Is the outfield plan locked in wit Willie Calhoun, Danny Santana, and Joey Gallo? It seems to me like one would at least want to know how Globe Life Field plays first.
TRS: The Rangers’s outfield is not locked in, but they do seem to like the possibility of Castellanos fitting in the middle of their lineup. Castellanos has value at multiple positions, but if he can take to first base, it would be an excellent fit for Texas if the contract demands are not excessive. The Rangers clearly want Castellanos as a first-base option.
RR3: If everyone would read RR3 they would know the answer to this and questions like it. Defense, while vitally important, doesn’t matter to this front office. And, Castellanos fits in perfectly with the plan. Which is to stay out of last place.
Why would Texas take two college third basemen at the top of the Draft, with at least Josh Jung looking like a legitimate future star, and then want long-term deals with Anthony Rendon or Nolan Arenado? I understand trading prospects, but I’m hearing Jung may be untouchable. What’s the plan?
TRS: The Rangers took Jung and Davis Wendzel because they needed some advanced college hitters in the system, rather than long-range high school pitchers that had filled their previous Drafts. If they had signed Rendon — who went to the Angels — they would have figured out how to maximize Jung and Wendzel, whether by position change or trade. Jung would not have been untouchable, at least not right away. The plan now is to let them develop in the Minor Leagues while Todd Frazier handles third base for 1-2 years.
RR3: To answer the last question first, and again, the plan is to stay out of last place. As far as the draft, you always take the best player available. This isn’t like the NFL where if you need a quarterback, you draft a quarterback who will be your starting quarterback next season. By the time these prospects are ready, the needs of a team could totally change. That’s assuming they are ready. A team could draft a dozen third basemen at the same time and none of them could pan out.
Any chance of signing Billy Hamilton to play center field for one year? Santana had a great year, but I wonder about a full year in center for him.
TRS: Hamilton is well-known for his tremendous speed, but he has never developed into a serious offensive threat. The Rangers would love the luxury of having Santana as a utility player, but they still need a legitimate center fielder. Kevin Pillar might be the right guy. He may no longer be Gold Glove-caliber defensively, but he can handle the position and provide some offensive power.
RR3: Yes, if he can change his name from Billy to Josh, and turn back the clock to 2010. Otherwise, the Rangers already have a dreadful lineup. Adding Billy Hamilton is like adding another Odor who can’t hit as well and has no power.
Have the Rangers given any thought to signing a veteran like Addison Reed to help fill the holes left by Shawn Kelley and Chris Martin in the bullpen?
TRS: The Rangers addressed their starting pitching early in the offseason and are now focused on their lineup. They have told agents that they could circle back on available relief pitchers before the offseason is over. Right-hander Brandon Kintzler is a name to watch. The Rangers have had interest in him in the past as a guy who can be a setup man with the occasional chance to close. The Rangers could use one more veteran reliever to go along with José Leclerc, Rafael Montero and Jesse Chavez.
RR3: It’s still January. The Rangers historically don’t address their bullpen until the week before spring training when they realize they have a bullpen.
Is Odor flying under the radar this offseason designed to give him a media break?
TRS: Manager Chris Woodward is the only member of the Rangers who needs an offseason media break. Odor has his ranch in Venezuela that requires his attention.
RR3: How much demand is there for an interview with the worst player in baseball over the past three years? “Well, Rougned, what do you do in the offseason to prepare for another year of underperforming?”
In your opinion, which is more valuable: Nolan Arenado for seven years or the prospects Texas would have to give up in a deal?
TRS: This is a question that has bedeviled general managers from the beginning of baseball time, or at least since the start of free agency. The guess is the majority of GMs would prefer the proven All-Star player if he fits their payroll and they are not rebuilding. Otherwise, the rebuilding club wants the prospects.
RR3: It would be a tall order to expect any prospect from any team to develop into the elite-level talent that Nolan Arenado is.