Texas Rangers

Now that the smoke has cleared, a look back at the Rangers’ winter meetings

Daniels: Rangers had a good week at winter meetings

Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels looks at the club’s week at the MLB winter meetings in Las Vegas.
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Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels looks at the club’s week at the MLB winter meetings in Las Vegas.

The MLB winter meetings are over, and that’s always a good thing.

After five days and four nights, when many baseball people never leave the hotel hosting the event, it’s time to see the sun and breathe the fresh air.

That was especially so after parts of five days and four nights at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and Secondhand Smokeatorium.

Maybe Friday wasn’t the best time to schedule an annual breathing test.

The meetings weren’t terribly busy for most teams, though there were exceptions. Oddly, based on their track record, the Texas Rangers were one of the exceptions.

They could have made a waiver claim on Carlos Asuaje just about anywhere, and the Drew Robinson-Patrick Wisdom swap had momentum before the Rangers contingent arrived Sunday in Las Vegas.

The Alex Claudio trade for a top-50 draft pick (currently No. 40) had pre-meetings origins, and it sounds like the Lance Lynn deal did, too.

But they all crossed the finish during the winter meetings, where the Rangers frequently don’t finish any races or finish just out of the money.

Rather than write only speculation, there was actual news and is news that needs another look.

And there’s speculation, too.

Here’s some Rangers Reaction, winter meetings edition.

1. Let’s start with the best of the Rangers’ trades – there were four, technically, but we’ll skip the two Rule 5 trades they were involved in -- and it’s really not even close.

The Rangers traded Claudio just before the meetings ended Thursday to the Milwaukee Brewers for their competitive-balance pick. It doesn’t sound like much, but, boy, it really could be.

That competitive-balance pick is going to be no worse than No. 41 overall and will come with around an extra $2 million to the draft pool. The Rangers can use it on a single pick at No. 41, or spread it around a little.

Here’s how: They’ll still take a player at 41st overall, but maybe they sign the player for under the $2 million at $1.5 million. That would leave them $500,000 to use later in the draft to lock up a player who might be a tough sign.

What caliber of player can the Rangers get at the No. 40-overall range? In 2011, Jackie Bradley Jr. went 40th, Trevor Story went 45th and Blake Snell went 52nd. A year later, Lance McCullers Jr. went 41st, two picks after the Rangers took Joey Gallo.

In 2016, the Pittsburgh Pirates took Nick Lodolo at No. 41 overall, but they failed to sign him and he went to TCU.

In 2008? Lynn went 39th overall. More on him in a minute.

But you get the picture. This pick could turn into a really good player.

Even if he doesn’t, it was a good trade for a rebuilding team to make.

2. Next up? The first trade the Rangers made, sending Robinson to the St. Louis Cardinals for Wisdom.

The two players found themselves in similar situations, blocked from the big-league roster. They’ve appeared in the majors, but there wasn’t much room for them with their clubs.

Robinson still has some traffic in front of him in St. Louis, but Wisdom, as things stand, should be on the Opening Day roster as a right-handed-hitting corner infielder who has power and is a good defender.

But, as far as general manager Jon Daniels is letting on, Wisdom was not acquired to replace Jurickson Profar. Daniels isn’t even sure if Wisdom can be an everyday player, though primarily because he’s never been given the chance.

Daniels didn’t seem all that interested in finding out. Maybe, though, he won’t give himself a choice.

Profar is a wanted man. The Oakland A’s have talked trade with the Rangers, though some doubt the A’s will surrender the prospects that it would take for the Rangers to part with the player they have been waiting to arrive for a decade.

He arrived in 2018. He doesn’t need to go anywhere.

3. Lynn isn’t going anywhere for three years, in theory at least. A rebuilding team needs arms, too, but must be open to trading anyone if the price is right.

That’s the thinking on Profar and Jose Leclerc, as well.

Lynn is what the Rangers need, an innings-eater. He can be more than that, though he wasn’t necessarily last season. With the innings the Rangers’ might be putting on their bullpen, they need at least one more dependable starter.

Mike Minor is expected to carry a normal workload after pitching with a short lease in 2018. Edinson Volquez and Drew Smyly will be monitored some as the return from Tommy John surgery, but they’ve been dependable before in their careers.

So, how does the rotation look with Lynn in it? Better. Does it still need help, yes?

The Rangers have four starters in the world of five-man rotations. They won’t just toy with The Opener concept this year. It doesn’t seem like they’re going to go full Tampa Bay Rays, but they’re going to use it some.

Still, the Rangers need starts and they need depth. There will be some pitchers you know brought in on minor-league deals, and there really needs to be another pitcher coming on a big-league deal.

Yusei Kikuchi? It would be great to have Japanese writers around again.

Maybe the Rangers trade for a pitcher.

Why? The more pitchers they have, the longer the prospects get the chance to develop in the minors. Also, Smyly and Volquez can be free agents after next season, so the Rangers are going to need arms again for 2020.

They shouldn’t stop a Lynn.

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After 11 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.
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