One thing I have learned is that playing “Armchair GM”, is solid proof that I have no business running a major league baseball team.
Full disclosure: My moves tend to favor the Rangers and usually laughed at by fans.
It’s the offseason and free agency has begun. Teams can also start dealing players.
So, let’s have some fun.
I dip my toes into the free-agent market. Ownership has said I need to trim payroll, so I need long term help that is affordable. My top target IF Ha-Seong Kim from Korea. My guess is that all total, about $40 to $50 million will be needed to get Kim on a 5-year deal. This would include the posting fee.
Kim has put up fantastic numbers in Korea. Most compare the KBO talent to somewhere between AA and AAA in America. Even so, if he can translate 75% to 80% of what he did in Korea to the big leagues, he is a major upgrade at second base.
I sign Marcell Ozuna to play LF and DH. My guess is it takes about 4 years around $20 million. With Choo’s contract gone, this is a good replacement; about the same money and much younger. He would only be 34 at the end of the deal. Ozuna and Gallo in the middle of this lineup would be fantastic.
The Rangers are a few years from contending, but Ozuna could be a good piece for a contending team in 3 or 4 years.
I call up the Dodgers coming off their World Series. They need starting pitching and I am still fixated on Edwin Rios. Rios is slated to start at third base for the Dodgers unless they re-sign Justin Turner. COVID issues aside, Turner is why they won game 6.
I offer Lance Lynn for Edwin Rios straight up. Dodgers balk at this since Lynn is a free agent after the 2021 season. So I allow them time to negotiate an extension or I sweeten the deal. Final Deal: Lance Lynn and Osleivis Basabe to the LA Dodgers for Edwin Rios.
Boston Red Sox are in a rebuild also. Both the Rangers and Red Sox have bad contracts to swap. I move Rougned Odor to the Boston Red Sox for Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi is owed $34 million over the next two years. Odor is owed about $25 million over the next two years with a $3 million buyout in 2023. All things considered, the contracts wash each other out. Rangers would take on a little more money, but Eovaldi is easier to move in a deadline deal if he regains form. Even if the Rangers needed to kick in some cash, Eovaldi is a far more attractive player than Odor.
The Red Sox need a second baseman. Odor isn’t necessarily the answer, but a change of scenery might be all he needs. He is disliked in Texas and might thrive with a new fan base or hitting coach. Final Deal: Rougned Odor for Nathan Eovaldi straight up.
Playing the long game, I understand that in 2021 I can’t expect the Rangers to realistically compete in the West. But I don’t need journeyman players filling big league spots.
I dip back in the free-agent market for a cheap player who not only can contribute to a winner in a few years, but could hold down a position while top prospect Josh Jung gets some real game ABs.
I bring back Jurickson Profar on a two year deal with an option for a third at $6 million a year.
I need a couple of free agents to round out the rotation and backup Jose Trevino until Sam Huff gets here. With that in mind, I use the ole Jon Daniel playbook of bringing in a pitcher at a lower rate for an extra year, who has the potential to be a 2, 3, or 4 starter. They can also be flipped in a deal if younger players push them out the door.
I sign Taijuan Walker to a 3-year deal worth $21 million. Then I sign 3 or 4 catchers with big league experience to minor league deals with a big-league invite. I only need a gap filler until Huff gets here.
2021 Opening Day Lineup and Roster
The new-look Rangers will have more power while trying to maintain good defense.
This is predicated on going back to the 25-man roster in 2021.
- Leody Taveras CF
- Isiah Kiner-Falefa SS
- Marcell Ozuna DH
- Joey Gallo RF
- Edwin Rios 1B
- Willie Calhoun LF
- Jurckson Profar 3B
- Ha-Seung Kim 2B
- Jose Trevino C
Opening Day Starter: RHP Kyle Gibson
Rotation: Gibson, Tijuan Walker, Jordan Lyles, Kyle Cody, Joe Palumbo
Closer: Jose Leclerc
Bullpen: Rafael Montero, Jonathan Hernandez, Joely Rodriguez, Brett Martin, Demarcus Evans, Jimmy Hegert
Bench: Elvis Andrus, Nick Solak, Eli White, and a catcher to back up Trevino.
Benching Elvis Andrus isn’t ideal. But if he can’t be moved to a team needing a SS, he may not be able to win a starting job. Eli White and Nick Solak provide a good bat and very good defender who can steal bases.
Remember that Profar can play 1B, 3B, 2B, and LF. Edwin Rios plays 3B along with 1B. Kim can play SS, 3B, and 2B. Solak and White are also former infielders that play the OF. That means that this roster is littered with players who can play all over the field.
Yes, this a WAY TOO EARLY run at things, but it is fun.
I think this team can finish .500.
Feature Image: Friar Wire