If the team is trying to become more competitive in the years following 2019, why is more of an effort not being made to move Shin-Soo Choo and use some of those savings on other areas? Is his veteran presence more valued after the Adrian Beltre retirement? I don't imagine
If the team is trying to become more competitive in the years following 2019, why is more of an effort not being made to move Shin-Soo Choo and use some of those savings on other areas? Is his veteran presence more valued after the Adrian Beltre retirement? I don't imagine he will be a part of the next great Rangers team.
-- Alex W., Austin, Texas
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Everybody on the Rangers is theoretically available during the rebuild, and that includes Choo. That said, Choo is 36, signed for two more years at $42 million, and he probably has higher value as a designated hitter than an outfielder. The Rangers are trying to acquire good, young pitching, and it's hard to see a club giving that up right now for Choo, especially a National League team. It may end up being a different scenario closer to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline than in the offseason. Choo is still a productive player, but he does have some limitations.
Ronald Guzman was a pleasant surprise after coming up earlier than expected last year. However, with the logjam of left-handed corner players, how strong of a hold does he have on the first-base job for next season?
-- Mike W., St. Louis
Joey Gallo can play first base, and he can play left field. That gives the Rangers some options. If Willie Calhoun comes into Spring Training and proves he belongs in the big leagues, the Rangers could use him in left and move Gallo to first base. So Guzman still needs to prove himself and defend his job as the Rangers' incumbent first baseman. He does not have a secure spot on the team.
Do you expect the Rangers to go "all-in" on players next offseason for the first year of the new ballpark? Or will they give it a few years?
-- Brady S., Seminole, Texas
That will depend how far the Rangers' rebuild progresses this season. If the young offense starts proving that it is a contending lineup, the Rangers might start flirting with the top-of-the-market free agents. The list of potential free-agent starters after this season includes Chris Sale, Gerrit Cole, Madison Bumgarner, Justin Verlander, Zack Wheeler and Stephen Strasburg.
Why aren't we trying to sign utility player Marwin Gonzalez, third baseman Mike Moustakas or pitcher Wade Miley?
-- Tony W., Sulphur Springs, Texas
Miley is an interesting study. Basically, nobody wanted him last winter after two poor years in Baltimore. The Brewers signed him to a Minor League contract, and it took three months before it paid off. But Miley had a terrific second half and ended up being a difference-maker in the Brewers' run to a division title. It would be nice to have the Astros' or Indians' rotation, but sometimes clubs have to make shrewd, under-the-radar acquisitions to put together a championship pitching staff. There are plenty of candidates out there on the free-agent market.
Do you think the Rangers will stay the course with the new pitchers they've brought in so far in this rebuild, or will they get scared and "David Clyde" them to the Major Leagues?
-- Joe S., Garland, Texas
By "David Clyde" you mean, will they rush their young pitchers to the big leagues before they are ready? All clubs have the standard mantra that they will not rush young players to the big leagues. That comes right out of the standard player development playbook. Having the discipline and willpower to stick to that philosophy often proves much easier said than to follow through with.
Do you see the Rangers giving Andy Ibanez a legit shot as an everyday third baseman? He is 25 and provided a stable bat at both Double-A and Triple-A.
-- Roberto M., Fort Worth
Ibanez, a former star in the Cuban National Series, is more of a second baseman, although he was used much more at third base this past season at Triple-A Round Rock. Patrick Wisdom, who was acquired from the Cardinals last month, is the more natural and proven third baseman, and Wisdom has more offensive upside. He would likely get the first shot among the players currently in the Rangers' organization.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.