As presently constructed, the 2020 Rangers project to roster four left-handed corner outfield options in Nomar Mazara, Joey Gallo, Willie Calhoun, and Shin-Soo Choo. That Choo underwent a surgical debridement last week is bad news from the perspective of The Athletic’s Levi Weaver, who opines that the soon-to-be-38-year-old Choo would have made for the club’s most obvious trade chip, had he not undergone the knife (link). While Choo projects to be fully healthy for Opening Day, Weaver still describes the outfield/DH option as “damaged goods” which other teams might be disinclined to deal for.
While Weaver’s concern over an aging player undergoing a shoulder procedure is justified, it’s far from certain that Choo’s minor operation would be the straw that broke the camel’s back in a trade negotiation. With one season and $21MM left on his deal and limited defensive value (-16 DRS and -9.0 UZR in 2019), it stands to reason that other clubs would simply prefer the Rangers other, younger, cheaper outfield options–with Mazara standing out as a player that both the Padres and White Sox checked in on this summer.
More items of interest from around the American League…
- As a means of welcoming Chaim Bloom to his new city, Boston Globe beat writer Peter Abraham gifts the new Red Sox GM with a letter prescribing first orders of offseason business (link). Abraham describes the club’s difficulty in discovering and developing starting pitching as their “greatest concern”, pointing out that the Sox have not drafted or signed an amateur pitcher of great import since the days of Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and Justin Masterson (current Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez was a signee of the Orioles). Abraham’s reasoning is hard to argue with, although it is worth mentioning that the club drafted starter Michael Kopech in 2014, later trading the young righty (along with Yoan Moncada) in the Chris Sale deal. Otherwise, the club’s decision to draft Jay Groome in 2016 (with arms like Forrest Whitley, Eric Lauer, and Dakota Hudson still on the board) does loom as one developmental misstep of Bloom’s predecessor, Dave Dombrowski. Earlier today, our own TC Zencka took a look at some routes available to the former Rays executive as he seeks to bolster the club’s pitching for 2020.
- Astros coach Joe Espada was passed over for the Cubs manager job in favor of David Ross, but it doesn’t sound as if the coach is harboring any resentment toward the club, judging by quotes presented in a piece from Ken Davidoff of the New York Post (link). “I go in there and I present myself, and I provide a vision, my goals, and I show them my style and my personality and why I think I’m the right guy for the job,” Espada said on Friday. “And I made a strong case for myself [with the Cubs], and that’s all you could ask for.” In assessing the recent movements on the managerial market, Davidoff opines that Espada represents something of a middle-ground between the experience (Joe Maddon, Joe Girardi) and fresh perspective (Jayce Tingler, David Ross) that clubs have been opting for in their recent hires. Espada reportedly remains a candidate in both the Giants and Pirates manager searches.