With the Rangers currently thin on internal options for the 2019 rotation, the team will likely be active in free agency this offseason, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. General manager Jon Daniels tells Wilson that the “concept of layering in a quality free agent addition, that’s appealing.”
That said, as Wilson notes, the team isn’t likely to pursue top-of-the-market options like Dallas Keuchel and Patrick Corbin. Rather, a less substantial investment — something along the lines of last winter’s Mike Minor signing (three years, $28MM), perhaps — could be in the cards.
Of course, that assumes not only that the Rangers will be able to offer enough money, but also that they’ll be able to woo an appealing hurler to join a roster that likely won’t be expected to contend immediately. Of course, the very same uncertainties also make the Texas club “a pretty attractive destination” for pitchers who are “willing to compete for innings in Spring Training,” as Daniels put it.
Even if the Rangers end up making a reasonably splashy acquisition, they’ll surely be looking for other arms to battle it out in camp. After all, there are slim pickings on hand.
Beyond Minor, Adrian Sampson, Yohander Mendez, Ariel Jurado and Eddie Butler all possibilities in 2019. Edinson Volquez, too, could be in the mix at some point as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery. Wilson notes that Yovani Gallardo would like to return to Texas as well, while the door also seems open for Martin Perez to come back even if his option is declined (as probably ought to be expected).
While it’s true, then, that there are possibilities on hand, that group of hurlers is not exactly overflowing with MLB accomplishment and promise as compared with most staffs around baseball. Neither would the above-suggested reunions clearly move the needle. Given Gallardo’s extraordinary decline and poor results in 2018, for instance, a minor-league deal seems appropriate. It’s also questionable whether Perez is worthy of an MLB pact, though he has youth on his side and has been useful at times in the past.
Clearly, then, Daniels is to be taken at his words regarding the clear-cut openings in the rotation. The situation could very well hold appeal to starters who know they’ll need to win jobs on non-guaranteed pacts in Spring Training.
The veteran executive notes, too, that the organization is open to being “a little less traditional” in how it structures its staff, perhaps opening the door to some creative options in structuring a staff. Bold thinking may well be necessary; barring some unexpectedly consequential acquisitions via trade and/or free agency, after all, the expectations will likely not be terribly lofty for the Rangers’ 2019 rotation.