We’ve seen quite a lot of chatter surrounding the Rangers’ efforts to add another big bat, some of it contradictory. The team just added Todd Frazier, which plugs in one part of the corner infield picture. That likely reduces the urgency of adding righty pop, though it still seems the Texas org is at least dabbling in that market.
The top two names available are Nicholas Castellanos and Marcell Ozuna. Both are rather youthful, well-established hitters but come with some demerits. It seems there are multiple organizations circling in hopes of securing a high-value contract. Whether there’s any significant appetite for a longer, larger deal isn’t entirely evident.
So, where do the Rangers stand with regard to these players? Depends who you ask. MLB.com’s Jon Morosi tweets that the Rangers are “active” and “among the favorites” to secure the services of Castellanos. But Morosi said much the same last week, citing a recent in-person meeting, only for a team source to claim the sides hadn’t even yet had a sit-down.
In the interim, the Rangers were again cited as a finalist on a righty bat … this time, Ozuna. It has now been five days since the 28-year-old was said to be deciding between the Rangers and Cardinals, with no resolution. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News tweets that he has “been given no indication of significant meaningful dialogue on Ozuna.”
In the course of throwing some cold water on the Ozuna concept, Grant notes that Castellanos is a “better fit” in Texas. That’s presumably because the latter slugger has experience in the corner infield and could step in at first base, which is reportedly where the team has been considering him all along.
As Grant notes, it’s theoretically possible that the Rangers could add one of these players, clear the resulting logjam by dealing Willie Calhoun, and still pick up Rockies star Nolan Arenado in a trade (perhaps involving Calhoun). Like the Cardinals, who also remain tied to Ozuna, the Rangers presumably still have at least one eye trained on Arenado. But that complicated scenario would leave Ozuna/Castellanos in the corner outfield mix, which is supposedly not the Rangers’ desired outcome in the case that they acquire the latter.
If it all feels a bit like running in circles … well, the Rangers and their rivals may be doing just that. Taken as a whole, it seems there’s a rousing game of musical chairs involving a variety of right-handed-hitting corner pieces. Josh Donaldson is among the other players involved; the Braves, Nationals, Reds, and perhaps other teams are also somewhere in the picture.