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Kris Bryant might be Rangers’ last hope after whiffing on targets

The Texas Rangers have swung and missed on their top hitting upgrade targets, but could a trade for Kris Bryant finally break the slump?
Credit: AP
Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant, left, fist-bumps fans after being announced during the baseball team's convention, Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)


The Texas Rangers will report to Surprise, Arizona in just a couple of weeks and they still have plenty to take care of in terms of what to do at centerfield and first base. 

As of right now, it looks like Danny Santana will see the majority of games in centerfield now that Delino DeShields Jr. is in Cleveland as part of the Corey Kluber trade. Ronald Guzman, who had an up and down year in 2019 that caused him to be sent to Triple A Nashville, is sitting atop the depth chart at first base as we near spring. 

Neither of those options are ideal for a team stated to be looking to contend in their first year at a new ballpark. Nevertheless, there are still options out there to improve and the Rangers have made it known that they’re still looking for upgrades to the lineup despite missing on most of their attempts this winter.

After whiffing on Anthony Rendon early, and then Nicholas Castellanos late, it seems the theory that the Rangers would be aggressive in free agency was one that lost its sizzle after Rendon signed with rival Los Angeles. 

One name that was linked to Texas as a possible trade target was centerfielder Starling Marte and he was traded to Arizona the same day Castellanos was inked by Cincinnati. Count it as another missed opportunity for the Rangers to improve. 

One player that was still available as a free agent with Texas ties was former first baseman Mitch Moreland, however he agreed to return to Boston on Tuesday. 

Moreland was a bit of a stretch considering general manager Jon Daniels recently stated that the team would be looking more at a trade than in free agency to improve the team. Daniels did add former Rookie of the Year runner-up Matt Duffy as a minor league free agent on Thursday to provide depth along the infield but the move certainly doesn’t move the needle. 

For Texas, there is still the forever pipe dream of Nolan Arenado. If the Rangers could wrest him from Colorado, he would take over third base for the next decade and allow them to move Todd Frazier to first to platoon with Guzman. That dream would solve a lot of problems with the roster but the problems of making the trade work are so gargantuan that it’s almost a nonstarter. 

If you are a big fan of pipe dreams for the Texas Rangers in 2020, there is also Kris Bryant fresh off litigation with the Chicago Cubs.

The Kris Bryant trade stemmed from Jon Morosi of MLB Network, where he proposed the trade to Texas as an ideal fit. However, for a trade like this to happen it would likely require them to give up pitcher Cole Winn and third baseman Josh Jung, among others. 

Jung is viewed as a top 50 prospect by most publications. He is the third baseman of the future as the team’s top pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, but they would perhaps be willing to deal him for a difference maker. 

Bryant is a proven commodity but he will be a free agent in 2021. With the Rangers having a farm system that is laden with depth but no big names at the top, a Bryant deal feels as unlikely as landing Arenado at this point. Expect the Rangers to try, however.

Try as they might, with each passing day it feels like the Rangers will stand pat and go with the guys on the current roster with the hope that Guzman is able to step up in 2020 and that Santana won’t turn back into a pumpkin after his Player of the Year turn in 2019. 

Should the Rangers now turn their attention to Kris Bryant or would they just be wasting their time? Share your thoughts with Patrick on Twitter @PatSportsGuy.

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