Ahead of Kansas City Royals free agency, let’s take a look at some Texas Rangers free agents and decide whether or not the team should pursue them.
The Texas Rangers weren’t a good team in 2019. Unlike the Kansas City Royals, though, all was not lost for the franchise overall.
After a 67-95 2018, Texas bounced back and posted a near-.500 record of 78-84 last season. Under first-year manager Chris Woodward, the club played with more fire and scored the most runs it had since 2011. On the other hand, it allowed more runs than it had since 2008. A mixed bag of a regular season leads to a critical offseason for the Rangers.
With that said, the team has nine potential free agents this offseason. Below is a list of them. The Royals will be in need of help wherever they can get it, so let’s do our due diligence and take a look at all nine names, then decide whether or not the franchise should pursue any of them.
Elvis Andrus, SS
Andrus is an 11-year veteran and has never played for any team other than the Rangers. He has a player option for $15.2 million this offseason and will be faced with a tough decision: re-sign or test the market? In all likelihood, the 31-year-old will collect his hefty payday and play out the 2020 season in Texas. What if he doesn’t, though?
Andrus is a fine player, but two obstacles are standing in the way of this signing making any sense for the Kansas City Royals. Firstly, Andrus is a shortstop. Adalberto Mondesi is the future at that position for the Royals. At 31, it’s also within reason to question whether or not Andrus fits into the team’s timeline.
Shawn Kelley, P
Texas has a $2.5 million club option it can exercise for Kelley, who is 35 years old and is coming off a so-so 2019 season. He’s got a decent track record of success but with his age, it’s possible his game is on the decline. Posting an ERA of 4.94 and a FIP of 5.52 a season ago, this signing wouldn’t make a ton of sense for Kansas City. Dayton Moore takes flyers on veterans looking to bounce back, but he should probably pass on Kelley.
Nate Jones, P
Jones was acquired midseason by the Rangers and failed to appear in a major league game for them as a result of rehabbing an injury. If his name sounds familiar, it’s because he spent every year before that with the Chicago White Sox. He’ll turn 34 next season but has posted an ERA+ of at least 120 in each of his last five seasons. Signing Jones would make a lot more sense than Kelley and fits the description of what Dayton Moore looks for in his comeback story relief pitchers.
Volquez has retired. He spent a couple of seasons with the Kansas City Royals and helped the team win a World Series ring. Let’s please leave it at that and not talk him out of retirement.
Logan Forsythe, UTIL
Forsythe is listed as a second baseman, yet he spent more time at first base than he did at any other position in 2019. As a matter of fact, he also played both third base and shortstop more than he did for Texas last season. He’ll be 33 by the time next season rolls around and is coming off a season in which he posted -0.2 bWAR. Forsythe was very useful when he was with the Tampa Bay Rays, but that was a few years ago.
Hunter Pence, RF
Pence is remembered for his World Series appearances with the San Francisco Giants and left town with a sour taste in his mouth. Posting a line of 0.226/0.258/0.332 in 2018, his age-35 season led some to question whether or not retirement was on the horizon. He answered with a tremendous comeback season in 2019 with the Rangers, making his first All-Star team since 2014 and hitting for an OPS+ of 126.
Pence would be a welcomed addition to make contending teams but with how many questions the Kansas City Royals have to answer in the outfield, bringing in a 36-year-old for one year isn’t going to help much. Had the team been closer to contention, this would make a lot more sense.
Josh Fields, P
Fields was signed to a minor-league contract with the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate, then was released less than two months later. His 2017 and 2018 seasons were impressive but at 34 years old and having not pitched at the MLB level in two years, Kansas City shouldn’t inquire about Fields.
Carpenter didn’t play in the MLB from 2016 until 2019 and once he signed with the Rangers, he appeared in just four games. He’s also 34 years old.
Mark Rogers, P
Rogers was the No. 5 overall pick in the 2004 MLB Draft. Injuries have derailed his career and at 33, he’s pitched a grand total of 49 innings at the MLB level.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the Rangers’ free agent crop will make much sense for the Kansas City Royals moving forward. Jones is an interesting name and could generate a bit of buzz but other than that, the front office should look elsewhere for the next members of the 2020 club.