While we have spent much time debating over whether to trade for Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar, the word out of Arlington is that neither Profar or Andrus will be dangled this offseason. Rather, Ian Kinsler is the player the Rangers would prefer to trade. Profar is 21; Andrus is 24; Kinsler is 31. Therefore, Kinsler’s future is a lot shorter than the other two. Now, while Andrus or Profar can be traded, the Rangers will look to get a mega-player back (i.e.: Giancarlo Stanton). If one of these two younger players get traded, the Rangers are preparing to put Luis Sardinas at 2B down the road as they have had him play 2B in the minors as well as SS.
The Rangers will make Kinsler available in order to fill a need for a left fielder for next year. We will put them in order of preference, as there are several options:
- Trade Kinsler for a left fielder, preferably a lefty stick.
- Sign a Carlos Beltran / Shin-Soo Choo to play left and balance out the righty bats of Rios, Beltre, Andrus, Kinsler, Martin.
- Put Kinsler at first and Moreland in left field.
- Resign Nelson Cruz.
The top two are the preference because Kinsler has no experience playing first and the Rangers are in “win now” mode, but it is expected that Kinsler can handle first. However, is he a better first base producer than the average first baseman? Re-signing Nelson Cruz is another issue. His outfield defense has been declining and Cruz will turn 34 next year.
One name to surely be available is Asdrubal Cabrera. Cabrera is 27, and will be a free agent after 2014. The Indians have the #1 prospect at SS in Francisco Lindor according to Jonathan Mayo. While Cabrera’s numbers haven’t been very good in almost two years, he represents a middle of the order type hitter, or at least a #2 guy.
Another name will be Dee Gordon. Gordon will be 26 early in the 2014 season, and he has not shown the Dodgers that he can be a viable SS option. His lone offensive asset is speed, but as we know with many speedsters (i.e.: Joey Gathwright), you can’t steal first. Defensively, Gordon has shown the range to play SS but his fielding percentage has gone the wrong way since he came up in 2011.
Lastly, a SS that was available this past July was Alexei Ramirez. Ramirez has shown himself to be a 15/15 offensive player and is 29. His defense rates as plus, and the Wite Sox have no pitching depth.
With regard to free agents, Stephen Drew, Jhonny Peralta, and Yunel Escobar are the most attractive names. Drew has his injury history, but represents solid bat potential as a double digit steals and a home run bat and a solid batting average. Peralta has had an up and down career, with steady reliable fielding but has shown flashes of power with sometimes very low average. However, his Biogenesis association will keep his market lower than normal.
Escobar has a very good glove and with the Braves from 2007 – middle 2010 was a good offensive performer. Since being traded to the Blue Jays during the 2010 season, his offensive numbers have tumbled. All three are similar in age, but Escobar has a $5MM team option. The Rays have Hak-Ju Lee ready at SS to step in, so keeping Escobar may not be an option.
If the Mets trade, expect to see Alexei Ramirez as a primary target because the two teams match-up well. If they opt to go the free agent route, it’s still hard to say. Escobar had a reputation as being difficult to deal with when he was traded; wonder if that changed. Drew gets hurt quite often. Peralta is not too exciting, but is solid and reliable.
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This Fan Shot was contributed by MMO reader Gus Livaditis (TexasGusCC). Have something you want to say about the Mets? Share your opinions with over 22,000 Mets fans who read this site daily. Send your Fan Shot to GetMetsmerized@aol.com. Or ask us about becoming a regular contributor.