For the past several years, Max Rieper at Royals Review has overseen a simulated MLB offseason, with each SBN blogger or his delegee acting as general manager for their team. We did a sim offseason again earlier this week, with me acting as the Texas Rangers’ general manager. I was given an anticipated payroll of $150-160M, in light of the new stadium opening up, and tried to make moves consistent with what I think the Rangers will do this offseason — trying to build a team that has a chance to contend in 2020, but with the expectation the contention window likely won’t open until 2021.
In light of that, here are the Rangers moves:
Declined options on Nate Jones and Shawn Kelley
Pretty self-explanatory. Because the rosters are frozen at season’s end, I didn’t have to decline Welington Castillo’s option, since that move happened in October.
Traded Jonah McReynolds to the Phillies for Jake Arrieta and Rafael Marcha
This was the first deal I made. Obviously, adding starting pitching behind Lance Lynn and Mike Minor was a priority for me, and getting the veteran Arrieta in a salary dump from the Phillies fit the overall offseason plan — Arrieta is owed $20 million for 2020, so there’s not a long term commitment if he doesn’t pan out, but the hope is that he can bounce back from the bone spurs in his elbow that required season-ending surgery in 2019. And to take Arrieta (and his contract), we get Rafael Marcha, a 20 year old catcher who was in high-A last year. Marcha is #11 on the Fangraphs board for the Phillies, with a 40+ FV, and he gets high marks for his defense and makeup, allowing us to improve both the rotation and the farm system for $20 million.
Traded Nomar Mazara and Rougned Odor to the Red Sox for David Price and $9 million
Easily the most controversial move of the deals I made. Price is owed $32 million per year for three more years, so even with Boston kicking in $3 million per year, he’s going to cost the Rangers $29M per. He has also missed time in two of the past three years, and heading into his age 34-36 seasons, he’s no spring chicken. That being said, this move allowed me to deal with the Rougned Odor situation — and his contract — once and for all, opening up a spot for Nick Solak in the every day lineup, and gives me a veteran starter for the rotation who is owed a lot of money, but just for three years.
Traded Delino DeShields and Nick Snyder to the Dodgers for AJ Pollock and $9 million
A.J. Pollock is owed $12 million in 2020, $15 million in 2021, and $10 million in 2022, with a $10 million player option for 2023 with a $5 million buyout and the possibility of having an opt out after 2021 based on plate appearances. He’s had trouble staying healthy, but is good when he’s on the field, and gives the Rangers a center fielder for 2020 at the cost of Delino, who is a fourth outfielder in my mind, and one of the Rangers’ legion of righthanded relief prospects.
Traded Eli White to the Athletics for Jed Lowrie and $3 million
The A’s had gotten Lowrie, who is owed $10 million for 2020, from the New York Mets in a different deal. Lowrie had two 4-win seasons in 2017-18 prior to a lost 2019 campaign, and I felt like he offered upside as the team’s third baseman if he is healthy in 2020.
Signed Todd Frazier to a 1 year, $4 million deal
Solving the third base situation was one of my top priorities, and after striking out on some of the more high-profile options, I pursued Frazier as a free agent. Frazier’s market was slow to develop, prompting me to add Lowrie so I wouldn’t get shut out at third base, but when I was able to land Frazier for just $4 million, I thought that was a move worth making, since he can either start at first base, play third base if Lowrie isn’t healthy, or be a useful bench bat at that price.
Signed Wilmer Flores to a 1 year, $3 million deal
Flores is a versatile righthanded bench bat who can share utility duties with Danny Santana. For $3 million, coming off an 848 OPS season and with the Rangers being so lefty-heavy, he seemed like someone who would be a good fit, possibly playing some first base, possibly playing elsewhere in the infield, and offering a righty pinch hitting option.
Signed Francisco Cervelli, Martin Perez, Logan Forsythe and Connor Sadzeck to minor league deals
Getting an upgrade at catcher was a priority for me, but I missed out on a number of guys, despite engaging in lots of discussions. Cervelli can split time with either Jeff Mathis or Jose Trevino, though. Perez and Sadzeck were sentimental moves, and Forsythe gives the Rangers a bench option to consider.
In looking over things, I probably should have gone ahead and signed Hunter Pence to a major league deal to round out the bench (I offered a minor league deal, which he rejected), and been more aggressive in pursuing another relief arm or two. Still, overall, I’m satisfied with how things turned out.
You can see all the moves, and what every team looks like now, here.