Spring training usually means that it’s extension season for general manager Jon Daniels and the Texas Rangers.
Michael Young, Ian Kinsler and Derek Holland are among those who have cashed in at the Surprise Recreation Campus, and Jose Leclerc became the latest Wednesday after signing a four-year, $14.75 million deal with two options years.
As of Wednesday afternoon, though, the two glaring candidates for extensions said that they haven’t heard anything from the club about deals that would keep them with the Rangers.
“I haven’t been discussing anything,” left fielder Joey Gallo said.
Right fielder Nomar Mazara also said that there is nothing happening, though a year ago there was more extension talk. He said that he wanted to wait another season before delving back into the subject.
Both players made it clear that they are open to extensions and have no desire to leave the Rangers.
“I would love to stay here,” said Mazara, who in January signed a $3.3 million deal in his first year as an arbitration-eligible player. “I love Texas. They’ve known me since I was 13-years-old. The relationship we have is like a second family. It’s my home.”
Gallo is represented by Scott Boras, who has a reputation for encouraging his players to take their free agency rather than sign extensions. Gallo, though, said that he’s “open to listening” to the Rangers and bucking the Boras trend.
“If the right deal comes up, of course I’m going to take it. I’m not going to mess with that,” Gallo said. “The Rangers is where I want to be. The is the only organization I want to be with, but at the end of the day, if the deal’s there, it’s there and we’ll do it.”
The Rangers don’t have any clear-cut extension candidates beyond Gallo and Mazara. Second baseman Rougned Odor has already been extended, and the Rangers likely want to see more consistency from Delino DeShields and gauge the readiness of their top center-field prospects before wading into extension talks.
First baseman Ronald Guzman needs to show more for at least 2019 before he becomes a candidate.
Daniels’ general rule is to not negotiate deals in-season or during free agency, but the Rangers have three potential 2020 free agents in their rotation – Edinson Volquez, Drew Smyly and Shelby Miller -- and might not be ready to turn over all three spots to prospects like Joe Palumbo, Taylor Hearn, Brock Burke or Jonathan Hernandez.
If Volquez, Smyly and Miller show they are healthy and productive, the Rangers might not want to risk losing all of them to free agency.