This is what a team gets once its season is over — a head-start on the off-season and a week’s worth of meetings to figure out who’s who and what’s what inside the organization and out.
The Texas Rangers’ front office and scouts have been at their spring home since Sunday night to start digging in for the frenzy that awaits, and the Rangers are going to be a big part of the action.
As is their way of doing business, they look at almost everybody — their guys, other teams’ guys who might be available, the free agents — and determine who’s a fit and who isn’t.
The first fit is need, followed by a bevy of other traits. Included is a fit within the budget, which is a whole other story.
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“We’re going to talk about everybody,” general manager Jon Daniels said.
This week, Giancarlo Stanton, is part of the conversation.
Yes, Stanton, the power-hitting right fielder for the Derek Jeter-led Miami Marlins, who are about to shed payroll. Stanton has – get this – 10 years and $295 million left on his contract.
That’s a lot of shedding.
There isn’t a team out there that couldn’t find a spot for Stanton, who hit 59 homers this season in a career-high 159 games. The Rangers, who have two right fielders, are no exception and are among the handful of clubs that could pull it off.
But isn’t their payroll going to be down?
“We’ll have enough money to maneuver,” Daniels said.
At the top of the market?
“We’ll have the ability to,” Daniels said.
Of course, they would make the Marlins eat a massive chunk of the Stanton contract. Daniels seldom makes a deal without making another team help financially.
The Rangers could dump Shin-Soo Choo’s salary by including him in the trade. That would help balance things out for three years. Or they could include Nomar Mazara, which would ensure that the Marlins would take on a bigger chunk of the Stanton contract.
What’s the hold-up?
“That’s one of the things we’re talking about here, whether that makes sense or if, just given the number of needs we have, if it makes sense to diversify,” Daniels said.
There’s the rub, the multiple needs, and the reason why the Rangers shouldn’t pursue Stanton.
Stanton can’t pitch, and the Rangers need pitching more than they need another right-handed slugger. They have three vacancies in the rotation, and the bullpen is going to look a lot different than the 2017 bullpen that help send the Rangers into off-season mode.
There are multiple top-of-the-market starting pitchers the Rangers could pursue, beginning with Yu Darvish. His stock is likely on the rise on the strength of his two postseason starts for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Pitching is where the money needs to go.
Besides, the Rangers’ lineup would be loaded with up to six right-handed hitters if Stanton were acquired, depending on how they filled left field and first base, and they would have to hit big on some low-end free-agent pitchers while relying heavily on a farm system that isn’t ready to support the big-league club with quality depth.
But how often does a player with the power potential of Stanton come along? Well, Joey Gallo finally came along this season for the Rangers.
This isn’t cut-and-dried for the Rangers. It’s a complicated deal for the Marlins, too, and maybe they won’t be able to find a trading partner until after next season.
From a timing perspective, that would be better for the Rangers, who could see Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus and Cole Hamels head elsewhere.
Timing is everything, after all, and the time isn’t right this winter for the Rangers to pursue Stanton.