Texas Rangers Off-Season Crossroads
With the baseball off-season now underway, the Texas Rangers are in the beginning stages of what many feel is going to be a very busy off-season for the club. While it will remain to be seen how much the Rangers do this winter, baseball insiders expect the Rangers to be involved with a slew of free agents and maybe one or two possible blockbuster trades. As the franchise tries to make some moves to help make it back to the postseason, General Manager Jon Daniels may find himself in the crossroads between building for the future or making an attempt to win now.
For the last few seasons the Rangers have been linked to both of the Florida franchises as the possible trade partner for either of the club’s superstar players, Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price or Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. Both teams have a history of trading away superstar talent in an effort to save money and receive compensation before the players leaves via free agency. If the Rangers were to make a run at either of these players, Texas will have to be willing to sacrifice a lot of young talent. If a trade were to be pulled off, one of the players that Miami or Tampa Bay may ask for in return may be Jorge Alfaro.
At 20 years old, Alfaro is still several seasons away from being ready for the big leagues, but he is someone who has a huge upside if he is able to fulfill all of his potential. Listed at 6 foot 2 and 190 pounds, the Rangers signed the catcher out of Columbia is 2010 for $1.3 million.
In 2013 Alfaro had a pretty solid year for the Single A Hickory Crawdads where he had a triple slash (Avg/On-base/ Slugging) of .258/.338/.452 while hitting 16 home runs and 22 doubles. What is most alarming however is that the twenty year old also struck out 111 times in 372 at-bats. Regardless of the strike out rates though, many scouts still think the Columbian will be a staple in a big league lineup down the road. Baseball Prospect Nation offered this insight about the Texas prospect:
Approach is raw… Too eager to swing and will chase out of the zone… Near elite bat speed… True plus-plus power potential… Has natural power to opposite field… Tantalizing power potential.
Scouts also rave about his defence and the same website describes his arm strength as “crazy” and “an absolute hose”. Here are three links of Alfaro in action during the Arizona Fall League (1, 2, 3).
While the sting of missing the playoffs for the first time in four seasons lingers, Texas’ front office must be very careful before buying into the “win now” train of thought. If they do, they must make sure the club is able win the ever elusive World Series or they may see some of the young talent that was traded away, lifting the hardware with another club.