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Texas Rangers talking Josh Donaldson, Jed Lowrie, Dom Smith, Nick Castellanos

With Anthony Rendon off the board, the Rangers are reportedly exploring a variety of other options

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Atlanta Braves v New York Mets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Texas Rangers rumors: Josh Donaldson, Jed Lowrie, Dom Smith and Nick Castellanos are among the players the Rangers have reportedly inquired about or engaged in talks with, per reports this morning.

Jon Morosi tweeted this morning that the Rangers, along with the Cincinnati Reds, are “showing continued interest” in Castellanos, one of the top free agent righthanded hitters on the board. Castellanos, who turns 28 in March, is one of the youngest free agents on the market this offseason, and he’s been a solid hitter, putting up a .286/.336/.504 slash line since 2016. He also, however, doesn’t really have a position — he was a bad defensive third baseman for the Detroit Tigers before they moved him to right field, where he has been one of the worst defensive outfielders in the league.

One possibility is that the Rangers would be pursuing Castellanos with an eye towards putting him at first base — he has never played there as a professional, but it would seem to be an option, as he has the size and is a former third baseman. Another possibility is that the Rangers would live with Castellanos’s defense in right field and move Joey Gallo to first base or to center field, although they’ve indicated a reluctance to move Gallo around any more, and seem committed to him in right field.

Or it could be that the generally depressed market for righthanded hitting power hitters with defensive limitations — a category of player with the league as a whole seems to not value highly right now — has the Rangers seeing Castellanos as a potential bargain, and they figure if they can get him at a discount they can figure it out from there.

Meanwhile, Ken Rosenthal’s notes this morning mention the Rangers’ interest in Josh Donaldson, who has widely been seen as Plan B for teams that miss on Anthony Rendon, and who has been discussed as a possible Ranger third base option for a while. More intriguingly, Rosenthal says that the Rangers have talked to the New York Mets about Jed Lowrie and Dom Smith.

Lowrie, 36, is in the second year of a 2 year, $20 million deal he signed prior to last season with the Mets. He’s also a man without a position in New York, however, with Jeff McNeil seemingly ensconced at third base and Robinson Cano manning second base, as well as 2019 N.L. Rookie of the Year Peter Alonso at first base. Lowrie missed essentially all of 2019 due to knee issues, but was a 4 win player the previous two seasons with Oakland, and if he rebounds would be a solid third base option for 2020 for a team.

Dom Smith, meanwhile, is a 24 year old first baseman/outfielder who put up a .282/.355/.525 slash line in 197 plate appearances for the Mets last year after struggling offensively in short stints the previous two seasons, but who, like Lowrie, appears to be a man without a position. Smith was a top 100 prospect a few years back before the prospect shine wore off, but his 2019 campaign gives one reason to think something may have clicked.

My assumption is that the Rangers are exploring the option of taking Smith, who is largely relegated to pinch hitting duties right now, off the Mets hands as an incentive to absorb the $10 million due Lowrie in 2020. That would give the Rangers a first baseman and a third baseman for relatively little, and allow them the ability to pursue other, more expensive options, should they choose (such as a David Price salary dump from the Red Sox).

Another Mets possibility is J.D. Davis, a third baseman/outfielder who blossomed with the Mets after they picked him up from Houston last offseason. He slashed .307/.369/.527, but doesn’t necessarily have an everyday position for New York. Texas could look that way as well.