As Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News points out, the Rangers have a surfeit of middle infield depth. At the Major League level, they have Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus signed to lengthy contracts as well as Jurickson Profar. Beyond those three, prospects Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas are waiting in the wings. With needs at various positions, including catcher, left field, and DH, as well as limited payroll space, it would make sense for the Rangers to deal from an area of surplus to fill an area of need.
Grant points out that the Rangers’ biggest worry isn’t finding a trade partner, but arriving at a deal that nets the Rangers what GM Jon Daniels perceives as fair value for his players.
One executive, left unnamed, told Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal during the GM meetings that the Rangers’ middle infield situation was “untenable.”
“We have three guys at the major league level and two guys at Double-A [Odor and Sardinas]; it would be irresponsible not to consider it,” Daniels said of a possible trade during the GM meetings. “Will we ultimately make a deal? I really don’t know. Teams are getting the lay of the land, see what’s out there and make a decision.”
Kinsler, now 31 years old, is signed through 2017 with a total of $62 million remaining on his contract. Andrus is 25 and signed through 2022, earning $6.75 million in 2014, the last year of his old extension before his new one kicks in at a total of $120 million.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.