Few teams have been worse off at the hot corner this season than the Rangers. Their third basemen rank 23rd in the majors in fWAR (8.6) and 24th in wRC+ (87). It’s fair to say life after Adrian Beltre hasn’t gone smoothly for Texas, which tried to replace the future Hall of Famer with free-agent stopgap Asdrubal Cabrera. But Cabrera performed so poorly over the season’s first few months that the Rangers released him in the first week of August. Logan Forsythe and Isiah Kiner-Falefa haven’t been productive, meanwhile, and utilityman Danny Santana and rookie Nick Solak – although extremely impressive during his very young career – have each started just a handful of games at the position.
Considering their issues at third this year, it seems the Rangers will prioritize the spot over the winter, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes. As you’d expect, manager Chris Woodward indicated Wednesday that he’d rather go forward with one player at third – not a cast of different faces.
Asked if third will be an important offseason focus for the Rangers, Woodward said: “It’s pretty big. I’m guessing we will be in pursuit of a third baseman. We’d like to not have rotating third basemen next year.”
If Texas enters the winter in a spending mood (Grant reports the team’s expected to be more aggressive in free agency), it could be among the clubs in on a pair of big-time free agents in Anthony Rendon and Josh Donaldson. Rendon, a 29-year-old superstar for the Nationals, figures to rake in the highest-paying contract of any position player during the offseason. Whether the Rangers will be up to the task of ponying up for him remains to be seen, but if they are, it could help their cause that Rendon is a native of Texas. The next deal for Donaldson, who will turn 34 in December, won’t come close to Rendon’s in total value, but the Brave is a standout in his own right who will no doubt earn a sizable guarantee on the open market.
After Rendon, Donaldson and perhaps Mike Moustakas (who has a mutual option with the Brewers for 2020), it doesn’t appear as if free agency will be teeming with third base solutions in the next couple months. The Rangers have spent big in the past, though, and if they’re committed to breaking a three-year playoff drought in 2020, it wouldn’t be a shock to see them reel in any of those three via the open market.