This just in: If the Rangers have a chance to get better by dealing from a position of depth, they are willing to discuss doing so.
T.R. Sullivan writes that the Rangers have made it known that they are will talk trade on Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, or Jurickson Profar this offseason.
An excerpt from Sullivan's piece:
The Rangers have let other teams know they are willing to at least talk about one of their middle infielders -- Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler or Jurickson Profar -- in any trade discussions that come up this offseason.
According to industry sources, the Rangers don't feel an urgency to trade one of those three, but they are willing to listen because it is an area of strength and they have other needs to address this winter.
Sullivan also notes that if teams inquire on Kinsler, the Rangers have no intention of eating any of his remaining contract. One would assume that the same is true for Andrus.
Figuring out what to do with the middle infield triumvirate has been a long standing conundrum since the Rangers extended Kinsler and Andrus right as Profar emerged as one of the best prospects in the game. Kinsler is signed through 2017 at an average of $15.5 mil per year. Elvis Andrus was extended less than a year ago through at least 2018.
The likelihood of Andrus being moved is probably the slimmest of the three, but it's no real surprise that the Rangers are saying that they'll listen. Going by the deal Elvis received last April, it's clear that the Rangers view him as one of their core guys.
But this is the sort of thing that the Rangers do. They're generally open to all avenues for improvement. It's a novel concept, really. It's almost like they're trying to win.
Kinsler is perhaps the most likely to be dealt, should the Rangers find a trading partner willing to eat Kinsler's entire contract and part with talent.
Trading Kinsler would allow the Rangers to slide Profar into an everyday role at 2B while saving themselves the headache of eventually moving Kinsler off his position. The Rangers could then use the money saved from dealing Kinsler to improve other areas of the club through free agency.
As Sullivan notes, more teams will likely be looking for a second basemen this offseason than shortstop help and Kinsler could be attractive to the teams that fail to land Robinson Cano.
Should the Rangers go for a blockbuster deal involving someone like David Price or a package of young players from the Cardinals, Profar would be the most attractive option since he's cheap with his peak years still ahead of him.
Of course, like last offseason, I'd say the most likely outcome is that the Rangers end up keeping all three players.
While this could be viewed as a non-story because every team listens on every player (except the Marlins listening on Mike Stanton, apparently), if nothing else, there is now reported proof that the Rangers are willing to resolve their good-to-have middle infielder dilemma at the right price.
Or maybe it's just further evidence that the Rangers are a baseball team that is willing to get better when presented the opportunity to do so. Either way, we get to go nuts with wild speculation. Thanks, Rangers!
I've attached a poll below asking which of the three you'd least like to see traded this offseason. (I voted for Big Bear.)