Rangers writer T.R. Sullivan did another of his customary Q and A articles yesterday, and the first question he was asked was which free agent the Rangers would target this off season.
He was emphatic that it would be current Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon.
He plays third, which is a position the Rangers used to have on lockdown mode but have struggled to find a placeholder for this season.
He bats right, and the Rangers roster is lousy with left-handed hitters, some of whom are actually lousy.
And his agent is Scott Boras, who has had a great relationship with Jon Daniels, bringing the Rangers Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, and Shin-Soo Choo, to name a few.
Rendon seems to be the consensus of everyone who answers that question. Which leads to one other question. Then what about the highly-touted third baseman the Rangers just drafted, Josh Jung?
Why would the Rangers throw significant long-term bank-breaking money at Rendon when they just added Jung and he could be ready for prime time by 2021?
A few things come to mind.
One, Jung is a prospect. Yes, he is highly-ranked, but he is a prospect. Prospects are like flights on American Airlines. They are a myth. They rarely go off on time if they ever go off at all. Those hopes and dreams of that Disney vacation usually never make it off the tarmac. Mechanical issues.
Two, Jung can learn another position. The Rangers have a lot of positions that are in dire need of filling. Like second. Or first. Or left field. Or right field. Lots of players switch positions to find a spot on a major league roster. Michael Young switched positions four times to accommodate other players. And we was already a Hall-of-Fame-caliber player.
Three, even if the Rangers target Rendon, and even if they pull out all the stops to entice him, there is no guarantee the Rangers will land him. His current team will go all out to keep him, especially after letting Bryce Harper walk this year. This has every chance in the world of being a moot argument if Texas can’t land Rendon.
The good news is, on average, only six teams care about fielding a competitive team every year. It appears the Rangers, for once, might be one of those in 2020. So while a guy like Rendon—who currently has 29 home runs, 104 RBIs, a .329 average, a .407 on-base percentage, and an OPS of 1.024—would vastly improve most teams, so few teams are after that sort of thing. So the Rangers competition for Rendon is narrow.
One might think, hey, it’s only August 27, isn’t it a bit too soon to be talking about upcoming free agents? Did you watch the just-completed four-game series against the Chicago White Sox? Move along. Nothing to talk about here folks.
No, it’s not too soon to be talking about upcoming free agents and ways to improve the Rangers.
Mike Minor (11-7, 3.17) vs. Andrew Heaney (3-3, 4.31)
Game time: 9:07