Offseason Needs, Targets, Outlooks & Values

There was a changing in the guard in the AL West, at least at the top.

Before they marched their way all the way to Game 7 of the ALCS, the Houston Astros endured an uneven regular-season that saw them as the only team in the American League to qualify for the expanded postseason with a record under .500 at 29-31. The Brewers qualified on the National League side of the equation with an identical record.

The Astros taking a step back after an offseason riddled with scrutiny opened the door for the Oakland A’s to cruise to an AL West title, their first since 2013, in an otherwise weak AL West division.

It’s going to be an interesting offseason across the board, however, so let’s dive into the AL West and check into some odds, offseason needs, free agent targets, 2021 season outlook and futures values before the hot stove portion of the offseason kicks in!

*Odds courtesy of BetOnline

Oakland Athletics

  • Last Season: 36-24 (1st in the AL West)
  • Playoffs: Lost ALDS vs. Astros (3-1)
  • 2021 World Series Odds: +2000
  • 2021 American League Odds: +900

Offseason Needs

Shortstop

With Marcus Semien hitting the open market, the A’s now have a gaping hole at the shortstop position. Despite a down 2020 season, Semien performed at an MVP level in 2019 and is firmly the top shortstop on this year’s market before a bevy of elite options at the position potentially become available next winter with the likes of Francisco Lindor, Trevor Story, Corey Seager, Javier Baez and Carlos Correa schedule to head a deep class next offseason.

Such a circumstance could have Semien see his market retreat – along with tightened league wide financials – which theoretically could see him return to Oakland, although Semien should nonetheless have some suitors of his own.

As it stands right now, Chad Pinder is the top option at the position, but he’s logged just 224 career innings at the position over the last four seasons and just 33 over the last two campaigns. He’s also rated as a below average defender in that time, posting a career -2 Defensive Runs Saved and -14.5 UZR/150 in that time, as per FanGraphs.

Second Base

I could have grouped a ‘middle infield’ category together as the team’s biggest need is shortstop while Pinder is far more experience at second base. Still, Pinder played just 95 innings at second last season while Tony Kemp saw significant reps as well. Pinder’s value is more of a utility man than a strict second baseman, so I would expect the A’s to explore the second-base market as well with a decent list of names that will come in at their comfort level.

The team traded second baseman Jurickson Profar to the Padres prior to the 2020 season and hoped that Franklin Barreto would handle the job, but Barreto was part of the trade with the Angels that brought second baseman Tommy La Stella to Oakland for the stretch/playoff run. Of course, La Stella also resided on the free agent market.

At the end of the day, it appears the A’s have some work to do in shoring up their middle infield.

Starting Pitching

I don’t see the starting pitching department nearly as needy as the middle infield for this A’s club.

They already sport a top-four of Chris Bassitt, Jesus Luzardo, Sean Manaea and Frankie Montas while youngster A.J. Puk should get his starts in as well as the team expects him to be ready to go for spring training after undergoing what appears to be a minor shoulder procedure in late September.

Nonetheless, a team sporting World Series aspirations such as the A’s should be looking to at least obtain additional depth. After all, the team as thus far lost Mike Fiers to free agency a veteran who has taken the ball every fifth day since the day they acquired him from the Detroit Tigers at the 2018 trade deadline and was a reliable arm in doing so, albeit while largely out-pitching his peripherals.

Free Agent Targets

Shortstop

Here’s where it gets tricky, and it would be surprising to see the A’s explore the trade market for a shortstop upgrade.

There are quite literally four shortstops on the market: Semien, Didi Gregorius, Andrelton Simmons and Freddy Galvis. Simmons and Galvis would be the best bets as the most cost-efficient members of that shortlist, however the supply/demand curve works in such a way that there’s a good chance the A’s won’t be outbidding anyone for a free-agent shortstop anytime soon.

Would the Tigers trade someone like Niko Goodrum and allow youngster Willi Castro to take over the full-time gig? After all, Goodrum was an AL Gold Glove finalist in 2020 and has shown a power/stolen base combination in the past, although his bat cratered in 2020. The financials would need to make sense, but is Elvis Andrus a trade candidate with Anderson Tejeda coming up?

Regardless of the target, the trade route seems like the best bet to solve the A’s shortstop need.

Second Base

This isn’t a full-blown need. As noted, Pinder could handle that duty, and that’s a real possibility as the frugal A’s aren’t going to break the bank on both middle infield spots.

The good news, however, is that the second base market has a decent crop of cost-efficient second base options. Such names on the market that fit that characteristic include Jason Kipnis, Enrique Hernandez, Joe Panik, Dee Strange-Gordon and Jose Peraza. Perhaps even La Stella could be open to a reunion if the A’s were able to open the purse strings even a little, but that’s all it might take in this economy.

Starting Pitching

With the rotation set up nicely for the future, the A’s will almost certainly turn to a veteran for their rotational needs.

The list of candidates is lengthy. For once, the A’s could be on even ground with the remainder of the league in terms of the low-cost, one-year deals we will see throughout the offseason. There’s a wealth of veterans the A’s will surely check in on. Such names are Homer Bailey, Anibal Sanchez, Cole Hamels, Martin Perez, J.A. Happ, Jake Arrieta, Gio Gonzalez, Tyler Chatwood, Jeff Samardzija and Mike Leake, among others.

I’m not about to nail down the best fit, as that job belongs to Billy Beane, but I would be shocked if the A’s didn’t add a veteran, or two, to add to their starting pitching depth with a 162-game campaign in mind.

Outlook

Perhaps some will wonder why I haven’t listed the bullpen as a need considering former closer, Liam Hendriks, now a free agent, has bar-none been the best reliever in baseball over the last two seasons. His 5.2 fWAR in that time is nearly two more wins than second-place Kirby Yates (3.4).

That said, when was the last time you saw the A’s lose a high-end reliever and go out on the open market and make a splash in hopes of replacing the production? It’s just not how they operate. They posted an MLB-best 2.72 ERA last season, and not only because of Hendriks and his 1.78 mark. Jake Diekman’s 0.42 mark ranked second in baseball behind the Brewers’ Devin Williams (0.33).

Sure, also gone is Yusmeiro Petit and Joakim Soria. The point here is that Beane has made something out of nothing with his bullpen time after time, and there are bigger fish to fry in terms of the ensuring their middle infield is covered, and whatever lost-cost reliever the A’s get, odds are it will be a success in the end.

If Matt Chapman comes back healthy, the offense should be just fine as it looked as if slugger Khris Davis found his stroke in the postseason, and a return to form for the two-time 40-homer DH would go a long way towards the A’s offense getting back on track in 2021.

I don’t see a better team than Oakland in this division looking towards next season, although I do think they fall behind when we compare them to the likes of the Rays, Yankees, White Sox and even Twins in the American League.

As a result, I’m not enamored with their 2021 odds values.

Futures Values Rating: 5.5/10

Houston Astros

  • Last Season: 29-31 (2nd in AL West)
  • Playoffs: Lost ALCS vs. Rays (4-3)
  • 2021 World Series Odds: +2800
  • 2021 American League Odds: +1400

Offseason Needs

Outfield

There isn’t a team in Major League Baseball that saw their outfield disappear as quickly as the Astros have.

Indeed, the trio of George Springer, Michael Brantley and Josh Reddick are all free agents at this point, and it’s unlikely the club will retain them, especially Springer who is arguably the top free agent on the market, depending on how you see it.

Sure, Kyle Tucker was the left fielder for much of the season, and this is precisely why the Astros’ brass has not traded Tucker in all-in moves in recent seasons. Tucker was actually named a Gold Glove finalist, but lost out to the Royals’ Alex Gordon at the end of the day.

As we look at it today, the Astros would head into the 2021 season with a three-man outfield of Tucker, Myles Straw and Chas McCormick. I mean… that’s no Brantley/Springer/Tucker trio, to say the least.

Needless to say, there’s some heavy lifting to do towards the Astros’ outfield for 2021.

Bullpen Help

The Astros were decimated in both their rotation and bullpen last season as injuries took their toll in both departments.

That said, while it’s not the Gerrit Cole/Justin Verlander/Charlie Morton/Dallas Keuchel/Lance McCullers Jr. rotation that was present as recently as 2018, the Astros appear set to move forward with a new wave of Astros starting pitching, a youthful yet talented group that contains Framber Valdez, Jose Urquidy and 2020 Rookie of the Year finalist Christian Javier slotting in behind Zack Greinke and McCullers

Sure, they could add a veteran as a depth piece, however the more pressing need is in the bullpen.

The bullpen dealt with plenty of injuries that handcuffed the group in 2020. Among those injured were Roberto Osuna, Chris Devenski and Brad Peacock, all three of whom now reside on the free agent market.

Names such as Ryan Pressly, Blake Taylor, Enoli Paredes, Joe Smith, Brooks Raley and Andre Scrubb are set to do the heavily lifting in 2021. While FanGraphs projects quality results from that group, don’t be surprised to see the Astros go out add a proven arm or two to place in the back end of their bullpen to assists Pressly in locking down leads.

Free Agent Targets

Outfield

I wouldn’t expect any of the outfield free agents to return to Houston, especially not Springer who is arguably the top name on the open market and will likely be priced out of Houston. Brantley will take on more of a DH role moving forward and the Astros will get Yordan Alvarez back for that duty in 2021.

The problem is the outfield market is thin after the likes of Springer. Names that could be of interesting are Joc Pederson, Adam Eaton, Robbie Grossman and perhaps even Yasiel Puig who sat out the 2020 season all together after failing to find a contract last winter.

Houston could go the trade route, add a glove-first defender such as Jackie Bradley or simply go with what they have internally should nothing materialize with the names mentioned above, but it’s certainly a grim-looking outfield situation in Houston for the time being.

Bullpen Help

As it always the case, the relief pitching market is deep and has some attractive names that will be of interest to Houston in terms of proven veterans, and some with closing experience.

A name such as Shane Greene fits that bill after closing for the Tigers and pitching high-leverage relief for the Braves over the last season and change. Trevor May is another attractive name after turning himself into a dynamite bullpen arm with the Twins after struggling as a starter. Greg Holland found his form in 2020 in his second stint with the Royals and Pedro Baez was a reliable source of outs for the 2020 World Champion Dodgers. Mark Melancon has closed for the Astros before and also for the Pirates, Giants, Red Sox and Braves.

I would expect the Astros to be in on those types of arms rather than aiming at the top with where the likes of Liam Hendriks, Kirby Yates, Brad Hand and Trevor Rosenthal should earn lucrative deals in free agency.

Outlook

The Astros’ big boys proved they show up when it matters the most, most notably Carlos Correa who had himself a dominant postseason in the face of scrutiny that he seemingly fed off.

Unfortunately, that group included Springer who has been one of the top playoff performers in recent memory and sits tied with Albert Pujols for fourth all time with 19 postseason home runs. Only Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams and Manny Ramirez have more.

Springer also served as the team’s leadoff hitter for several years in a row, another void the team will need to fill moving forward.

The starting pitching will be better than most people might think, but I see a massive hole in that outfield and the bullpen needs some help, although the Astros are far from the only team in baseball who needs to inject some depth and talent into their ‘pen.

At least for one more season, the core three of Altuve, Bregman and Correa remain. Correa is schedule for free agency after the 2021 season, joining that elite list of shortstops who will do so.

They should hang in there, and Dusty Baker will get the most out of his club, but I don’t put this team into the “elite” category anymore. They’re good, but they’re not elite.

An expanded postseason would benefit them as it did in 2020, but I’m not a fan of Astros futures given the talent they’ve yielded to the open market.

Futures Value Rating: 5/10

Seattle Mariners

  • Last Season: 27-33 (3rd in AL West)
  • Playoffs: Did Not Qualify
  • 2021 World Series Odds: +10000
  • 2021 American League Odds: +6600

Offseason Needs

Bullpen Help

The Mariners largely surprised to the upside in 2020, finishing just two games behind the Astros for the second and final Wild Card spot in the junior circuit.

Imagine what they could have done even with an adequate bullpen? The Mariners made a surprising push despite boasting a bullpen that ranked 28th with a 5.92 ERA. That ERA figure was no joke, either, as their 5.81 FIP was the worst mark in the league, as was their 5.69 xFIP and -1.5 fWAR. Yikes.

So, it would appear priority No.1 should be adding some stability to this bullpen. There’s just no one in that group today that you can hang your hat on. Former Oakland A’s Opening Day starter Kendall Graveman projects to lead the group in terms of innings pitched and FanGraphs has him and only three other members to post a positive fWAR in 2021.

If this team is to make further strides, the bullpen absolutely needs to be far better.

Catcher

Luis Torrens, a 24-year-old who struggled both at the plate and badly behind it last season, is projected to get the bulk of reps behind the plate for the Mariners if the season started today. Torrens was part of the deal that sent Austin Nola to the Padres prior to the 2020 trade deadline.

Tom Murphy projects to back him up, but I’m not sure these projections will come to fruition. After all, Murphy hit 18 homers with a monster .262 ISO and 126 wRC+ in 2019 with the Mariners, but he also missed the entire 2020 season after suffering a broken foot in summer camp, and general manager Jerry Dipito noted recently that his foot is, somehow, not yet fully healed.

At this point, Torrens would be better served starting the season in the minors after debuting in 2020 without an at-bat above the Double-A level. With an experience Torrens and a mysterious, lingering foot injury with Murphy, it would seemingly make sense for the Mariners to go out and grab some catching help while they wait for Torrens to get his footing at the minor-league level.

Free Agent Targets

Bullpen Help

As I’ve noted throughout these pieces, nailing down specific targets for teams needing bullpen help – and almost all do – is a difficult task. This becomes especially true with a Mariners team that won’t be big-game hunting at the top of the market but rather adding depth to help eat some innings, albeit with notable improvement in mind.

It would appear they need an arm to add to the back end of the bullpen, and there are names out there who may not cost much. A name such as Sean Dootlittle may fit that category after some struggles in Washington last season, and Darren O’Day is another veteran arm with high-leverage experience. Keone Kela might need a fresh start after some off-field issues in Pittsburgh in recent seasons while Tommy Kahnle, Pedro Strop, Bryan Shaw, Wade Davis, Nate Jones, Chris Devenski and Brandon Kintzler could all be names Dipito looks into this offseason.

The list of relievers looking for contracts in an uncertain market is lengthy, and will get even longer than the non-tender deadline arrives December 2.

Catcher

Of course, the catching market is far more defined than that of the relief pitching market. It’s not exactly deep in quality after J.T. Realmuto at the top, but there are names that can at least provide a stop-gap for when either Murphy gets healthy enough to start or to buy Torrens some time in the minors.

Such names would include Wilson Ramos, Alex Avila, Robinson Chirinos, Kurt Suzuki, Austin Romine and maybe even a reunion with Mike Zunino, although I would peg that as extremely unlikely.

If they wanted to get even deeper into the market, names such as Sandy Leon, Matt Wieters, Welington Castillo and Jeff Mathis would bide the club some time in 2021.

As iffy as the catching situation looks like in Seattle, I’d be shocked if the Mariners didn’t at least grab some catching help on the free agent market, or perhaps even the trade market.

Outlook

For a team that’s technically in a rebuild, the Mariners appear rather set on offense. No one is going to mistake them for a top-tier group after they ranked 28th with a .298 wOBA last season, however some pieces are there.

Kyle Lewis is going to win the AL Rookie of the Year award in center field, Evan White tapped into some power while winning the Gold Glove at first base, Dylan Moore surpassed even the loftiest of expectations and J.P. Crawford also took down the Gold Glove himself. Add in veteran Kyle Seager who bounced back at the plate in 2020, and a healthy Mitch Haniger who missed all of 2020 with core and back surgery following a ruptured testicle in 2019 and the offense has plenty of room to improve next season.

The starting pitching picture is fine as ace Marco Gonzales continues to put his elite command on display, Justus Sheffield enjoyed a nice rookie season, Yusei Kikuchi will return in search of improvement and Justin Dunn got some rookie jitters (hopefully) out of the way in a tough 2020 season.

Perhaps a veteran addition is in the cards with far more innings needing to be eaten, but Dipito is going to be more than willing to let this group work out the kinks in 2021.

The staggeringly-poor bullpen needs to improve dramatically, but the Mariners appear to be a team that will head into next season with their puzzle pieces largely in place. I’ve seen some pro-Mariners futures bettors seeing value in their 2021 odds of late, but I’m not one of them.

The AL West is the weakest of the three junior-circuit divisions, but that doesn’t mean we should be laying any coin on them to win a Pennant or World Series in 2021.

Futures Value Rating: 2.5/10

Los Angeles Angels

  • Last Season: 26-34 (4th in AL West)
  • Playoffs: Did Not Qualify
  • 2021 World Series Odds: +4000
  • 021 American League Odds: +2000

Offseason Needs

Starting Pitching

The Angels made a bid to improve their starting pitching without spending on the open market last offseason, and for the most part it worked. The trade that brought in now-free-agent Julio Teheran didn’t work out as he struggled in limited duty after a late start to the season. That said, the Angels were the recipient out of a breakout season from Dylan Bundy after he failed to live up to his prospect hype with the Orioles. Bundy worked to a 3.29 ERA/2.95 FIP in 11 starts with the Halos last season, after a 4.79 mark in 2019 and a 5.45 figure in 2018.

Bundy returns for 2021, and it appear Shohei Ohtani is going to give pitching another go next season despite his inability to stay healthy enough to do so over the last two seasons. Gold Glove winner Griffen Canning and Andrew Heaney are also back, and the team has done depth in the likes of Jaime Barria, Patrick Sandoval, Dillon Peters and Jose Suarez.

For a team that needs to get Mike Trout back into the postseason, it’s not enough. The Angels should operate on the assumption that Ohtani will not be a full-time starter, and anything else would be a bonus. Heaney is another name that hasn’t quite lived up to prospects hype and Canning, Sandoval and Barria are wild card options while who knows whether Bundy is able to repeat his brilliance from the condensed 2020 campaign.

Shortstop

Glove-first shortstop Andrelton Simmons now resides on the free agent market, so there’s a hole at the position despite the Angels’ ability to move David Fletcher to shortstop and have the likes of Luis Rengifo and Franklin Barreto duke it out for second-base reps.

That said, given the Angels’ early interest in Didi Gregorius, it’s abundantly clear the team plans to lock down the shortstop position and have Fletcher and his batting title upside move back to his natural second base position.

I ranked the shortstop need second here as the Angels could theoretically made do with a free-agent addition at short, but they certainly need to add pitching to their rotation after ranking 29th with a 5.52 starters ERA a season ago.

Bullpen Help

If you’ve continually read these divisional offseason outlooks, you’re probably sick of seeing bullpen help nearly across the board. That said, all 30 MLB teams are going to add bullpen arms to their mix this offseason. Not only that, but the Angels are under intense pressure to get Trout back into the postseason and need to ensure their bullpen improves after ranking 21st with a 4.63 ERA a season ago. Perhaps that ERA figure it a little harsh as they also ranked 12th with a 4.17 FIP, 14th with a 4.48 xFIP and 13th with a 1.7 fWAR, but to me, the Angels should be shopping for an upgrade or two in that ‘pen.

The Angels’ bullpen has plenty of arms with high-leverage or closing experience in the form of Keynan Middleton, Hansel Robles and Ty Buttrey, but adding a high-end arm to that mix is a prudent move for a team with postseason aspirations.

Free Agent Targets

Starting Pitching

There is one name I have my eye on when it comes to the Angels’ starting pitching needs and that is right-hander Marcus Stroman.

Stroman is one of the top arms on the market, and while Trevor Bauer makes a ton of sense, Stroman will come in at a lower cost and could arguably out-perform Bauer when it comes to the stat that matters most at the end of the day: ERA.

I speak to ERA when it comes to Stroman because he’s not flashy. He owns a career 7.36 K/9 and he’s not a flame-thrower, although there’s nothing wrong with a 94.1 mph career average on the four-seamer.

What he does better than almost anyone in the game is induce ground balls. He owns a career 58.6% ground-ball rate, although he’s exceeded 60% in four of his six big-league seasons. Since he entered the league in 2014, only three qualified pitchers have a superior ground-ball rate to Sroman’s 58.6% mark.

Of course, there’s other names that could help, such as Masahiro Tanaka and Jake Odorizzi, but Stroman is the best of the bunch, perhaps aside from Bauer, and he should be at the top of the Angels’ offseason checklist.

Shortstop

I mean, there’s only four notable free-agent shortstops, one of which is Simmons and the other Gregorius. Additionally, Marcus Semien and Freddy Galvis make sense too.

In short, those are your targets. Owner Arte Moreno has been known to open the purse strings, and while it hasn’t led to any postseason success, or appearances, as of late, you could wonder whether the Angels could sign someone like Galvis as a one-year stop-gap before dialing in on the elite shortstop market next offseason.

That said, it’s not out of the question that Gregorius could be had on a one-year deal on the heels of a one-year pact with the Phillies. If there’s anything I can guarantee about this offseason, one-year deals will be the norm.

The Angels will add a shortstop this offseason, and Gregorius is the clear front-runner in that department.

Bullpen Help

The Angels have capable arms that were on the wrong end of the luck spectrum last season, but this is a team that needs to ensure their bullpen not only improves, but becomes a strength. Of course, nothing is guaranteed, but they should be moving forward with that mindset.

Hendriks is unlikely to be had, but how about someone like Yates or Hand? Melancon, May, Greene, Tyler Clippard, Alex Colome, Doolittle and Rosenthal all make sense for a team that should be shopping atop the reliever shelf this Christmas.

Outlook

When you have Trout and Anthony Rendon on board, a duo that FanGraphs projects to combine for a 14.1 fWAR in 2021, there’s no excuse not to be competitive. It didn’t work out in 2020, but moving forward the all-in mentality is mandatory.

What we don’t know is who will be making the decision underneath Moreno. The Angels parted ways with GM Billy Epler after the 2020 season and have not yet hired a replacement. Several candidates are in that mix, but whoever gets the nod is going to be tasked with filling in the holes on a roster that absolutely must contend in a big way moving forward.

Adding Stroman – or Bauer – is nearly a must for this team, and adding significant high-leverage bullpen help isn’t far behind. The shortstop need is big, but it seems there is a defined target already.

Call me optimistic. I’m not alone in my Stroman to the Angels prediction as MLB Trade Rumors shares that opinion. He’ll become the teams ace and give them the opportunity to field a rotation that should improve based on luck alone.

Add in the bullpen help and a lineup that ranked 11th with a .329 wOBA last season and I think the Angels could be in business next season.

Futures Value Rating: 8/10

Texas Rangers

  • Last Season: 22-38 (5th in AL West)
  • Playoffs: Did Not Qualify
  • 2021 World Series Odds: +12500
  • 2021 American League Odds: +6600

Offseason Needs

Starting Pitching

Lance Lynn is the hottest starting pitching commodity on the trade market and there’s a decent chance he gets dealt before the season as a full season from him would help the Rangers obtain more in return for the right-hander that has been among the top pitchers in baseball over the last two seasons.

Such a happening would have the Rangers’ rotation in shambles, especially after both Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles struggled mightily in their first season with Texas in 2020. Keep in mind that Corey Kluber saw his option declined after he threw all of one inning with the Rangers before missing the remainder of the season with shoulder issues.

If Lynn remains, it would him, Gibson and Lyles in the top three with Kolby Allard and Kyle Cody filling out the bottom two spots in the rotation. That’s just not nearly enough and there’s enough starting pitching on the market the Rangers should be able to add some serious depth to that iffy group of starters.

First Base

This is the first and only time I’ll mention first base as a need for any of the AL clubs, but it’s a legitimate concern for this Rangers team.

They’re set to hand the job to Ronald Guzman again in 2021, but truth be told, the guy just hasn’t been able to take advantage of the opportunity that’s been given to him. I mean, he’s only 26 and has just 236 big-league games under his belt, and there is loads of raw power in the bat, but he’s hit .230 with a .311 wOBA and 85 wRC+ in his tenure so far. He’s also an average defender at best and considering FanGraphs projects him for just 0.3 fWAR in 2021, this indeed appears to be a need.

Free Agent Targets

Starting Pitching

It’s not evident what direction the Rangers plans to go moving forward, but I don’t see big-game hunting on their starting pitching radar this offseason.

Help is needed to be sure, but it’s likely to be depth options, and perhaps several in the scenario that Lynn is indeed moved. I would group the Rangers into the category of teams that would look to add a some pitching on a one-year deal with the hope that they can net future assets in a trade deadline deal.

In other words, a combination of reclamation projects and veterans looking to re-establish their worth for next winter’s market. Or perhaps someone that can strictly eat innings with letting Allard and Cody feel themselves out at the big-league level.

As a result some names come to mind. Those names would include Homer Bailey, Anibal Sanchez, Anthony DeSclafani, Robbie Ray, Ivan Nova, J.A. Happ, Jake Arrieta, Gio Gonzalez, Jeff Samardzija and others.

Pinning down exactly who the Rangers would target is nearly impossible, but those are some ideas as to the types of arms we should expect Texas to check into this offseason.

First Base

I wouldn’t identify this as a major needs. To be honest, I predict they’ll give Guzman another go as he’s still just 26 and is still developing at the big league level. We’ve been surprised before in terms of players with plenty of minor league power that initially struggle in the bigs but turn into stars. The Yankees’ Luke Voit comes to mind. However, I would suggest the Rangers either give Guzman a platoon partner or let him try his draft as a part-time DH while getting some behind-the-scenes work in with the glove. Keep in mind last year’s DH – Shin-Soo Choo – is now a free agent.

So, a right-handed-hitting first basement/DH type could be in order. Someone that can help propel an offense that ranked 29th with a .283 wOBA a season ago. Carlos Santana is someone who could help, although I’d imagine his wide-ranging market will keep him from falling to the Rangers.

C.J. Cron is another right-handed bat with significant power, and while we don’t know if he’ll play in 2021, Ryan Zimmerman is another name on the market, but I doubt he’s interested in re-locating to a non-contender after a historic career with the Washington Nationals.

The trade market is another option, but it seems like giving the everyday first base job to Guzman isn’t the best course heading into what we hope will be a full, 162-game season in 2021.

Outlook

Not much to see here.

The Rangers opened a shiny new ball park in 2020, and while fans were largely unable to enjoy it before it hosted the World Series, it seems rather disappointing that the on-field product is at this stage when fans will, again hopefully, be permitted to attend regular-season games next season.

The idea was for droves of fans to check out the new digs and generate loads of revenue that could allow owner Ray Davis open up his wallet this winter, and while MLB owner are far better off than their spending habits will tell this winter – this isn’t a team that’s going to go all-in on contending with AL Pennant or World Series aspirations on their mind for 2021.

GM Jon Daniels has his hands full in terms of deciding how to get his club on track, but the bottom line is this: 2021 Rangers futures are not worth a lick.

Futures Value Rating: 1/10