The Rangers swung a trade with the Twins earlier today, and here’s some more out of Arlington…
- 2018 was the best of Nomar Mazara’s three big league seasons, though that is something of faint praise, as the outfielder hit only .258/.317/.436 (96 wRC+) with 20 homers over 536 plate appearances. Between that below-average production, subpar baserunning, and middling defense, Mazara generated 1.0 fWAR last season, giving him just 1.4 fWAR for his career. Mazara also battled a thumb injury, and there were suggestions of tension between the outfielder and former Rangers manager Jeff Banister. While it’s worth noting that Mazara still doesn’t even turn 24 years old until April, “there are no more excuses,” he told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. “I know can play a lot better than what I am. And I know that expectations are going to be high. I know what I can do.”
- The Rangers face an interesting long-relief challenge as they weigh how to handle Shelby Miller, Edinson Volquez, and Drew Smyly in their projected rotation, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes. All three hurlers are in various stages of recovery from Tommy John surgeries — Miller has tossed just 38 MLB innings over the last two seasons, while Volquez didn’t pitch at all in 2018, while Smyly hasn’t thrown a Major League pitch since 2016. Zach McAllister and Jesse Chavez are two relievers with multi-inning experience, though Jason Hammel could also fit into a long man role if he doesn’t end up in the rotation himself. “I’m just here trying to make the team. I’m not expecting anything. I’m not opposed to any job,” Hammel said. After struggling in the Royals’ rotation for the last two seasons, Hammel was relegated to the bullpen last year, his first extended dose of relief work since 2008. Hammel is in the Rangers’ camp on a minor league deal.
- December’s three-team trade with the Rays and A’s saw the Rangers part ways with former top prospect Jurickson Profar and minor league right-hander Rollie Lacy, though Texas came away from the deal with $750K in international bonus money and a package of four prospects. One of those youngsters was 22-year-old left-hander Brock Burke, who Rangers GM Jon Daniels discussed with Fangraphs’ David Laurila. “This winter, after a number of talks, we defined what we were looking for [in a Profar trade],” Daniels said. “Our priority was to get a young starter who was at the upper levels, and [Burke’s] had a lot of things we liked. His trajectory is really interesting — from Colorado, not a ton of development at a young age. Sometimes guys from those cold-weather states need a little time to lay a foundation.” A third-round pick for the Rays in the 2014 draft, Burke has a 3.41 ERA, 2.83 K/BB rate, and 8.7 K/9 over 387 2/3 pro innings, including a 1.99 ERA over 55 1/3 frames at Double-A in 2018. MLB.com ranks Burke as the ninth-best prospect in the Rangers’ farm system, citing his improved slider, changeup, and a fastball that averages “90-94 mph with a peak of 96 and some running life.” This latter pitch was specifically mentioned by Daniels, who described Burke’s fastball as “unique…both from a scouting perspective and from the data.”