With the annual general manager meetings underway, the lull between the end of the season and the hot stove period should be concluding in the near future. Top executives are actually starting to acknowledge possible offseason free agent targets or their intent to make an impact on the trade market — though they can’t list targets currently employed by other teams.
Let’s run down the latest from the MLB rumor mill.
Rangers to spend big?
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels has indicated they intend to increase payroll and that might even include a run at Gerrit Cole and/or Anthony Rendon with all the other big names (Stephen Strasburg, Josh Donaldson, etc.) in play, via the Dallas Morning News. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com adds that the Rangers are “expected to be a big player” in free agency.
I’m not sure they could fit two of the huge names on the payroll — obviously, this is always dependent on ownership — but there are serious considerations here we should keep in mind. The Rangers’ opening day payroll in 2017 was over $165 million, per Cot’s. It’s estimated at just under $110 million right now for 2020, so there’s certainly room to get to where they’ve been before with this same ownership group.
Further, the Rangers are moving into a new home ballpark next year. Surely, the owners would be starry-eyed picturing unveiling the ballpark with Cole or Strasburg on the hill while Rendon hits in front of Joey Gallo. Talk about getting the home crowd excited.
I’d say the Rangers are a big team to watch this coming offseason.
Donaldson’s market seems robust
Given that there is only one Rendon, several contenders ready to spend could use a third baseman and that Josh Donaldson is coming off a major bounce-back season, there’s a market for the third baseman. Feinsand reports that the Rangers, Phillies, Braves, Nationals and others have been in contact with Donaldson already.
Padres looking to trade for big-league help
Pressure is mounting on Padres general manager A.J. Preller to finally get this thing turned around, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. While the Padres will once again likely be active in free agency, the report indicates trades from prospect currency to stock the big-league team are more likely than hitting a free agency home run like Strasburg. Top-flight pitching prospect MacKenzie Gore is mentioned as an untouchable, but few other prospects are thought to be off limits.
A separate Union-Tribune report said a big addition to the Padres this offseason “almost certainly won’t be” Strasburg or Cole. The report does mention Zack Wheeler as a possible signing, who would be a really nice arm to sit at the top of the rotation along with Chris Paddack and Garrett Richards.