Rangers Need to Make Some Moves
The Rangers need to make some moves this off-season–there are no if’s or but’s about it. They have a problem, but it’s a good problem to have. A plethora of middle infielders. Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler and Jurickson Profar at the major league level and a couple of triple-A prospects in Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas. My suggestion is to go with the Money Ball strategy. Dump the big salary guys when they still have good years of value ahead of them and a lot of guaranteed money on their contracts.
None of this would be an issue if baseball (and other sports) would follow football’s lead and stop guaranteeing money for years down the road in the hopes that player will continue to produce–but that argument is for another day. The Oakland A’s and their general manager Billy Beane have done pretty well (not World Series champions well, but playoff team well) by following the strategy.
In the case of Andrus, he’s a fan favorite at The Ballpark and has been a stalwart for the Rangers for several years. Problem is that he just signed last year to a long term, big money contract. He’s scheduled to make $6.75 million this year (very reasonable) but he jumps up to $15 million in 2015 thru 2018. Those two unknown (for now) guys at Frisco aren’t anywhere near that salary. Trading Andrus saves the organization money they can use to pick up more pitching (never enough), a catcher, left fielder or the first baseman that they need. And don’t forget Tampa pitcher David Price who is on the block. Pairing him with Yu would give the Rangers an awesome 1-2 pitching combination that could put them over the top.
Remember, when it comes to playoff time, two stud pitchers can take a team a long way…even all the way.
Kinsler is another trade option although he doesn’t have the value of Elvis. Ian has had two straight sub par seasons and is still on the Rangers books for $62 million for the next 4 seasons. That $15 million per season might be enough to keep Nelson Cruz around or attract Jacoby Ellsbury as a free agent. Keeping Cruz should be a vital off-season priority for Jon Daniels.
The Rangers could also chose to trade Profar, but I think they would seriously regret that. Sure, he only his .234 in a limited role last season but he needs to be an everyday player. Just a year ago he was considered by all to be the top minor league prospect in all of baseball. They can’t all be wrong. He just needs a chance to develop everyday in the Rangers infield and he will become an all-star. The A’s have proved that there are a lot more good, young players out there than most people would suggest. Profar will only be 21 by next opening day. I’ve never understood why that’s plenty old enough to be a starting quarterback or point guard at the highest level but somehow too young for baseball except for the very rare few. He’s been playing baseball since he was 7, so he either has the skills or he doesn’t. Playing in Round Rock isn’t going to teach him more than he can learn in Arlington, plus he’s a bargain right now–take advantage of that.
Kinsler is a valuable clubhouse guy, and just like his former locker room neighbor, Michael Young, he could move to another position, say first or outfield, and still be a huge plus for the Rangers.
There you go, Trade Andrus, Kinsler moved to a new position, Profar an everyday starter and gamble on young guys (read cheap) saving you money for free agents and trades, and the Rangers move right back to another World Series. After all, it has been 2 years already!