Rangers have high expectations for Mazara

July 31st, 2019

ARLINGTON -- The paradox confronts the Rangers at the Trade Deadline. It is why there may be interest in Mazara from other teams at the Deadline but why the Rangers are likely to hold on to him.

Mazara is a 24-year-old talented outfielder who would be attractive to any team, but ...

His production has not met the expectations that go with his talent and other clubs are leery of that. The Rangers are not. They still believe Mazara is capable of reaching a higher level of production and aren't willing to give up on that unless they get a high value in return for a player who can't be a free agent until after the 2021 season.

"I like that," Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. "We have a 24-year-old kid who is very talented. If the rest of the league doesn't see that, you've got to maximize that player. He's successful but we want him to be more successful. We need to see more consistency. If he was at that level, we would have no interest in trading him. Position player talent is so hard to get, that kind of ability ... you would want that guy on your team for the next 10-15 years."

The Rangers have made it clear to Mazara they need to see more out of him. His start to the second half has shown promise. Mazara entered Tuesday night hitting .283 with a .522 slugging percentage in 12 games since the All-Star break. That needs to continue but it's up from .261 with a .443 slugging percentage before the break.

For the season, Mazara is hitting .264/.316/.453. That's close to his four-year career averages of .260/.319/.430. In other words, Mazara's career has been consistently productive but not at the level the Rangers need.

"Yeah, that's good when you have people to expect more out of you," Mazara said. "It motivates you and makes you work harder. All the coaches want you to be the best you can be and produce at a high level."

Mazara raised expectations when he drove in 101 runs in 2017. It was his second season in the big leagues, and he was 22 years old. Mazara felt he was on his way to a big season in 2018 before suffering a sprained right thumb just before the All-Star break and having to deal with it the rest of the season. This year he has struggled to overcome a slow start that had him hitting .188 with a .344 slugging percentage after 18 games.

"At the beginning of the season, I was feeling good and not getting results," Mazara. "I was hitting the ball hard and not getting hits. I started hunting for hits. ... It was crazy. I started looking at the results and not the process. I started getting lost up there. Obviously, I want more. But if I can be more consistent, I will produce the numbers that people expect me to do."

Santana should stay put

Utility player 's name has also been thrown out there in trade rumors. That's because he is viewed as a utility player while overlooking the fact that he is hitting .324 with a .943 OPS.

He also can't be a free agent until after the 2021 season. That's why the Rangers don't see him as trade bait, they view Santana as a big part of their future.

"I don't know for a fact we wouldn't trade him," Woodward said. "But I would assume we don't have that much desire to trade Danny Santana. I love the guy. He is so valuable for any organization. We got really lucky that we signed him as cheaply as we did and have two years of control. It's a gold mine."