The Rangers have had “informal” conversations with the agents for Jonathan Lucroy about a possible extension, GM Jon Daniels said in a recent appearance on 1310 The Ticket in Dallas with host Norm Hitzges (transcript via the Dallas Morning News). There haven’t been any serious talks yet, though Daniels said he plans on exploring that scenario with both Lucroy and Yu Darvish as Opening Day draws nearer.
“We will sit down and talk to them but haven’t yet and that’s by design with so much going on,” said Daniels, presumably referencing his ongoing work to fill areas of need around the roster. Texas is known to be in fairly serious talks with Mike Napoli about a two-year contract to play first base and/or DH, for instance, and Daniels and his staff have already worked to re-sign Carlos Gomez to a one-year deal in addition to various trade scenarios that command persistent attention.
Both Lucroy and Darvish are set to hit free agency following the 2017 season, and barring some form of disastrous injury or unexpected decline, they’ll do so as two of the most coveted players available on the open market. Lucroy rebounded from an injury-plagued 2015 season to bat a combined .292/.355/.500 with a career-high 24 homers in 544 plate appearances between the Brewers and Rangers this past season. Paired with premium defense behind the plate and an ability to play first base as needed, Lucroy could well challenge or surpass the five-year deals signed by Russell Martin ($82MM) and Brian McCann ($85MM) in recent years with another characteristically strong season.
Darvish, meanwhile, returned from 2015 Tommy John surgery to turn in 100 1/3 quality innings with the 2016 Rangers. The 30-year-old logged a 3.41 ERA and averaged 11.84 K/9 against 2.78 BB/9 with a 40.4 percent ground-ball rate and a 93.3 mph average fastball that was actually harder than any of his previous Major League seasons. If he’s able to turn in another season that falls somewhere between that form and his 2013 peak — 2.83 ERA, 11.89 K/9, 3.43 BB/9, 41 percent ground-ball rate in 209 2/3 innings — he looks very much like a pitcher that can command in excess of $100MM in free agency.
Certainly, each player’s proximity to free agency will make it difficult to extend him, however. Both players have already banked a sizable amount of money in their careers ($10.7MM for Lucroy and $45MM for Darvish), and the allure of a significant open-market payday would mean both are unlikely to offer any form of discount. Lucroy, in fact, cited a very business-oriented thought process when explaining his veto of a trade to the Indians over the summer, noting that the team’s plans to use him at first base and DH more than at catcher (which would’ve depreciated his free-agent value) heavily influenced his decision. Considering the fact that his current contract has become one of the game’s greatest bargains, free agency has to be especially appealing to him.
Daniels also spoke to Hitzges about the roles of Matt Bush and Jurickson Profar in 2017, noting that while there’s been some talk of Bush getting a look as a starter, he’s expected for the time being to come to Spring Training as a reliever. The GM did indicate an openness to the idea, though he noted some reasons for concern with the concept as well, including his limited experience on the mound and the fact that he’s never pitched to a starter’s workload (or even attempted to do so). Profar, meanwhile, is expected to compete for at-bats at first base and in left field, depending on exactly how the outfield alignment shakes out, Daniels added. Others in that mix will be Joey Gallo, Delino DeShields, Ryan Rua and Drew Robinson, the general manager noted. Obviously, a Napoli signing could take away some of those theoretical at-bats.
I don’t see the Rangers being able to resign Darvish. As much as I like him, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Rangers trade him.
He’s bug market bound for sure. Depending on where the Rangers are at the deadline, they’d have to consider trading him. If they’re in contention though you just have to accept that he’ll leave and go for it all.
Yes. Ship him down 45 south
Lucroy will be 31 at the time he hits FA, and if anything teams will look at the diminishing returns of guys like Martin and McCann, and might think twice about breaking the bank for Lucroy. He’ll get a nice payday no doubt, but it’s not likely he’ll continue to put up stellar numbers for too many more years.
They should wait until the trade deadline and see where they’re at. Their division got better and they overachieved last year. If they’re good, keep em and try to sign them. If not, trade them and receive a fortune after depleting the farm these past two years.
Problem is players don’t like to discuss mid season so they’d have to wait til the end of the season at which point the player might as well go into free agency anyways and just make the Rangers compete with other teams to sign them
Yeah time to rebuild the farm IMO
Love my rangers, but they’re setting themselves up to have to rebuild. We lost Colby, holland (), Desmond, Mitch, prince and sounds like we’re replacing them with cashmere, Hamilton, Napoli. Then next season lucroy, darvish, and Perez. Ownership/ Jd says no money to spend. And our upper level farm is depleted and what we have is cpl years away. I’m expecting to finish behind seattle and Houston this year, and possibly bigger fall in 18
the rangers had a deep farm system and now they gave up most of their prospects the last two seasons.
The Hamels, Lucroy, and Beltran trades all depleted your farm pretty severely. If the Rangers fall out of contention by mid-season there’s no reason to not believe you can’t shop some of your players to restock that farm. Darvish and Lucroy alone would probably do it.
I think it’s a 3 team race between the Mariners, Astros, and Rangers in the ALW. I think Astros take the division while the Mariners and Rangers get the Wild Cards.
West getting both wildcards this season? Not a chance.
It’d have to be darvish, lucroy or hamels. Perez won’t bring much, nobody’s taking on choo or andrus contracts, their gonna need there bullpen depth to offset weak sp, they’ve pretty much said that’d have to be blown away to trade Mazara or odor, and profar/Gallo don’t have much value anymore
I would rather see Darvish resign than an over 30 catcher. Those contracts don’t usually work out well. I’m not impressed with the Rangers winter at all thus far. Signed Gomez and Cashner… that’s scary as hell. Let Desmond, Moreland, Holland, and Beltran leave. I don’t foresee a West title in ’17.
The Gomez signing was fine, the Cashner signing puzzles me. You’re giving him nearly a 50% raise and he wasn’t good last year?? Holland was notably better last year, and was slated to make only $1M more than they shelled out for Cashner, not to mention, Cashner actually cost them $500k more due to Holland’s buyout. And Holland wound up signing for $6M, so the Rangers could have saved significantly more going with their home grown, better option… SMH
I don’t know how the Rangers had money to be well within the neighborhood of Cleveland’s $60M/3 year offer to Encarnacion, but didn’t have anywhere near $68M/5 years for Desmond…
Holland was only slightly better, not significantly. And holland was gonna be 11 and cashmere was 10 so they saved a million not lost. And the big difference cashmere has had success in the past and has a 97 mph fb and rangers pitching coach thinks he can fix him. But holland has lost velocity, only had 2 good seasons his entire career, and has pitched about 30 games over last 3 seasons and has spent more time on dl than rotation and rangers had completely lost faith in him
And on verge of signing ham and nap. Lol
The Rangers should consider going all in for next year and then starting the rebuild.
I’m not sold on Seattle and until the Astros figure out how to beat Texas, the Rangers will continue to be in the post season. Small window though.
The way is to beat them at our own game… balance of veterans( prince, andrus, beltre) and youngsters ( odor, Mazara) think McCann and reddick r a step in right direction