Jon Daniels was asked who was going to play third now for the Rangers and said it wouldn’t be Joey Gallo, nor were they planning on turning over the position full time to newly acquired Patrick Wisdom. He suggested he will make a one-year deal for a free agent.
Which leads to the question, who?
Here are the available free agent third basemen:
Machado is out for a number of reasons. One, he’s not going to take a one-year deal. Two, the Rangers aren’t going to drop $300 million on him.
Moustakas would be the ideal choice but he signed a one-year deal last year when he couldn’t get anything else he liked (it was offered but he turned it down then got stuck signing back with the Royals for one year). It’s doubtful he would do that again. Maybe Daniels could get him for two years but that seems unlikely.
Jose Reyes is even too past his prime for Daniels. He would come with the price tag that would be appealing but you would get more production from the actual third base bag than you will from Reyes.
That leaves a few legitimate candidates: Chase Headley, Ryan Flaherty, Trevor Plouffe, or Ryan Schimpf.
Headley and Plouffe seem like the most likely choices by virtue of where they are in their careers. After a few moderately productive seasons with the Yankees, New York traded him to the Padres. Headley got off to a slow start in 2018, so San Diego released him. Headley would be trying to reclaim his career. Same with Plouffe.
Plouffe had a few productive years in Minnesota and since has been trying to re-establish himself. He has been with the bottom-feeding teams since. Oakland signed him in 2017 then released him. Tampa Bay then signed him, played him a bit, and released him. Then the Rangers picked him and invited him to spring training camp in 2018. He ask for and was granted his release so he could find a new team. Philadelphia signed him. He didn’t play much but long enough to hit a walk-off home run off Dodgers second baseman Kiki Hernandez, thus becoming the first player ever to hit a walk off homer off a position player posing as a pitcher. He ended up being released. If the Rangers liked him last year, they are probably still fond of him this year. Only now they are desperate enough to need him.
Flaherty is another third baseman who is trying to hang on, having been mostly unspectacular in Baltimore, than signing with the Braves for the 2018 season, then being released.
Schimpf, too, was released mid-2018. What makes him attractive to Daniels is his unusually high rate of striking out. He would be right at home in the Rangers lineup.
If I were a betting man, I would say Chase Headley will be the Rangers third baseman in 2019. The announcement will bring with it all the excitement of an XFL game.