Why potentially sign Nicholas Castellanos to play first base? He’s been passable defensively in right field in his career. Is the outfield plan locked in with Willie Calhoun, Danny Santana and Joey Gallo? It seems to me like one would at least want to know how Globe Life Field plays first.
-- Alex W., Austin, Texas
The Rangers' outfield is not locked in, but they do seem to like the possibility of Castellanos fitting in the middle of their lineup. Castellanos has value at multiple positions, but if he can take to first base, it would be an excellent fit for Texas if the contract demands are not excessive. The Rangers clearly want Castellanos as a first-base option.
Why would Texas take two college third basemen at the top of the Draft, with at least Josh Jung looking like a legitimate future star, and then want long-term deals with Anthony Rendon or Nolan Arenado? I understand trading prospects, but I'm hearing Jung may be untouchable. What's the plan?
-- Larry W., Duncanville, Texas
The Rangers took Jung and Davis Wendzel because they needed some advanced college hitters in the system, rather than long-range high school pitchers that had filled their previous Drafts. If they had signed Rendon -- who went to the Angels -- they would have figured out how to maximize Jung and Wendzel, whether by position change or trade. Jung would not have been untouchable, at least not right away. The plan now is to let them develop in the Minor Leagues while Todd Frazier handles third base for 1-2 years.
Any chance of signing Billy Hamilton to play center field for one year? Santana had a great year, but I wonder about a full year in center for him.
-- Pat S., Roselle Park, N.J.
Hamilton is well-known for his tremendous speed, but he has never developed into a serious offensive threat. The Rangers would love the luxury of having Santana as a utility player, but they still need a legitimate center fielder. Kevin Pillar might be the right guy. He may no longer be Gold Glove-caliber defensively, but he can handle the position and provide some offensive power.
Have the Rangers given any thought to signing a veteran like Addison Reed to help fill the holes left by Shawn Kelley and Chris Martin in the bullpen?
-- Dick S., Denton, Texas
The Rangers addressed their starting pitching early in the offseason and are now focused on their lineup. They have told agents that they could circle back on available relief pitchers before the offseason is over. Right-hander Brandon Kintzler is a name to watch. The Rangers have had interest in him in the past as a guy who can be a setup man with the occasional chance to close. The Rangers could use one more veteran reliever to go along with José Leclerc, Rafael Montero and Jesse Chavez.
Are the Rangers serious in hopes of using Nick Solak as an everyday player? What are the reasons for not having him out there?
-- Ian G., Forney, Texas
Ian Kinsler had a slash line of .274/.348/.464 over a full season at Triple-A in 2005. The next year, he became the Rangers' everyday second baseman and stayed there for eight seasons. Solak, also a second baseman, had a slash line of .289/.362/.532 at Triple-A last year.
The difference? The Rangers traded Alfonso Soriano to open up a spot for Kinsler back then. They now have second baseman Rougned Odor signed for three more years and have yet to identify a suitable alternative spot for Solak. At this point, utility player -- infield and outfield -- appears worth pursuing for the short term. But the Rangers have serious expectations of Solak eventually being an everyday player.
Is Odor flying under the radar this offseason designed to give him a media break?
-- Nick S., Fort Worth
Manager Chris Woodward is the only member of the Rangers who needs an offseason media break. Odor has his ranch in Venezuela that requires his attention.
In your opinion, which is more valuable: Nolan Arenado for seven years or the prospects Texas would have to give up in a deal?
-- Sean D., Redwater, Texas
This is a question that has bedeviled general managers from the beginning of baseball time, or at least since the start of free agency. The guess is the majority of GMs would prefer the proven All-Star player if he fits their payroll and they are not rebuilding. Otherwise, the rebuilding club wants the prospects.