Texas Rangers’ plan for winter meetings, pursuit of Rendon buoyed by gains in 2019

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Texas Rangers’ plan for winter meetings, pursuit of Rendon buoyed by gains in 2019

Post by admin » Mon Dec 09, 2019 7:54 am

For the past year, if not longer, the general assumption when it came to the Texas Rangers’ finances was that ownership was biding its time for 2020.

The new ballpark, with the roof the owners wanted, would be ready for play.

The rebuild would be further along, with more known about the young players on the roster and with the farm system restocked and prospects closer to the majors.

Globe Life Field is nearly done. The Rangers will have new uniforms. Momentum is building.

Correction: Momentum is continuing.

The Rangers believe their 11-win gain from 2018 wasn’t a mirage. With all of the positive things happening around the team, the jump toward contention it made in 2019 has as much to do with an apparent willingness to spend this offseason as anything else.

“Our focus is getting back into contention and staying there for an extended period, not doing something for marketing purposes or the wrong reason,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “I think that’s a little bit of a danger zone we are going to try and avoid.

“When things line up and it’s the right player at the right position of the club, fits all around with the right contract, we are going to look to strike if possible.”

Daniels and other members of the front office arrived Sunday to the winter meetings carrying expectations. They are considered a front-runner to land free-agent third baseman Anthony Rendon, a native Texan who rates as the top position player on the market.

Daniels has said all offseason that the Rangers will have more money to spend than the past few winters and that they’ll be competing for top players. Another third baseman, Josh Donaldson, is another target if Rendon goes elsewhere.

The Rangers have already added two right-handed starters, Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles, on affordable deals that give them rotation depth and could free up more money in their bid for Rendon.

He reportedly turned down a seven-year, $210 million offer to re-sign with the Washington Nationals before he helped lead them to the World Series title. The Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers, among others, are also pursuing Rendon.

“We went into the winter with the thought that if the deals are right, we could have real quality additions in multiple spots,” Daniels said. “We’ll see. I don’t want to handicap anything. It’s a competitive market.”

The Rangers met with Rendon last weekend in Houston, where he lives, and came away feeling like it was a good meeting. They aren’t sure where they stand with him or where things could go this week.

Among the things Daniels said the Rangers are using as selling points are Globe Life Field, the retractable-roof ballpark that will open in March; the momentum the franchise seems to have; and how they have committed to winning it all when given the chance.

The Rangers have a track record of adding to a contending team, beginning with Cliff Lee in 2010.

Contending is likely the foremost concern for Rendon, who won a World Series less than two months ago and has been to postseason four times in his seven MLB seasons with the Nationals.

Rendon, and third base, are the Rangers’ No. 1 priority, but they have fallback plans in place.

“We are not focused on one specific move.” Daniels said. “There are a number of spots we can upgrade and need to upgrade. We are looking at it both ways. There is in an opportunity to add impact in different ways, but also raising the floor on different spots on the team is pretty important as well. We have been looking at both options.”

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