Texas Rangers trade rumors: Alejandro De Aza is on the Rangers' radar, as Jon Morosi writes the Rangers are "keeping tabs" on the Mets outfielder, as well as David Murphy and Will Venable, both of whom are free agents.
The Rangers' outfield situation was already somewhat in flux, but the news that Josh Hamilton is experiencing soreness already in his surgically repaired left knee, before spring training has even started, means that the Rangers need to be looking at other options to pair with Justin Ruggiano, who was signed with the expectation that he would start against lefthanded pitchers.
De Aza, 32, was signed by the Mets in December of 2015 as a free agent for $5.75M. Because he was signed as a free agent, De Aza would have to grant permission to be traded, but the re-signing of Yoenis Cespedes has potentially relegated De Aza to a bench role, which could encourage him to approve a trade.
De Aza is a lefthanded hitter who has experience in all three outfield spots, although he has mostly been a corner outfielder the past two seasons. He put up a .261/.319/.436 line last year while playing for Baltimore, Boston and San Francisco, and had a .252/.314/.386 line in 2014 with the ChiSox and Baltimore.
Venable, 33, was acquired by the Rangers from the Padres last August to help provide a replacement for the injured Hamilton, but he struggled mightily once he got here, putting up a .182/.325/.227 line. Still, he's a serviceable lefthanded bat who can also provide insurance in center field.
Murphy, 34, y'all probably already know about...longtime fan favorite who had a bad season in 2013, then signed with the Indians as a free agent. He put up a .283/.318/.421 line last year, splitting the year between Cleveland and the Angels, but his defense appears to have slipped dramatically.
The Rangers have Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara and Lewis Brinson as their top prospects, and all would be potential outfield options, but the plan seems to be to let all three start the season in AAA and have some success before bringing them up. Ryan Rua was the Opening Day leftfielder last year, but he had a bad 2015 season, and also is a righthanded hitter, which is problematic if the Rangers want to platoon someone with Ruggiano in left field.
So I guess we will stay on Hamilton Health Watch, while the front office monitors options and looks for a backup plan or three...