Over at the DMN site, Evan Grant has a piece that was posted up yesterday evening in which he addresses the thought of the Rangers trying to be contenders in 2015, and he proceeded to throw around some ideas concerning how the front office should perhaps try to make that a reality.
For starters, Grant addresses the distinct need for some more pitching depth, and suggests that the Rangers make a pitch to Max Scherzer, but that in reality, the real pitching target of the offseason should be Jon Lester. His thought process is along the lines of Lester being a solid #2 option in the rotation, and potentially giving Derek Holland someone to learn from in order to finally reach his potential.
To that point, it really seemed like Holland was turning a corner last season, and that this season might finally be his year, but a knee injury obviously derailed that idea early on. And really, I think that's why it's important that he get a few starts toward the end of this season to build some confidence back up prior to Spring Training in 2015.
Furthermore, Grant suggests that the front office could also pursue a player like Billy Butler to platoon with either Mike Carp or Mitch Moreland. I'm not sure if Moreland has any goodwill left in his reserves with the front office, and much of that will hedge on exactly how much the Rangers see from Mike Carp for the remainder of this season, but on the whole, the idea of signing Butler and platooning him seems to be a decent one.
The most interesting though offered up by Evan Grant, however, involved Elvis Andrus, and the idea of trading him.
I've been on record in the past as saying that trading Elvis just to trade him would be a bad idea. I think sometimes we get a bit too tied up in the contractual values of a player and forget about the future value by the time the contract matures. Oftentimes, what seemed like a bad contract up front actually ends up being a good idea as the cost of a win increases from year to year. Obviously, it remains to be seen exactly how Elvis's contract will play out, but I think the point still remains. He's a valuable commodity to the organization, and even if his offense leaves us frustrated at times, his value isn't entirely tied up in that one facet of the game.
In any case, the potential return for Elvis is what caught my attention the most:
Coincidentally, the Dodgers have a surplus of outfielders. Also coincidentally, one of them — Matt Kemp — has a contract worth almost the same as Andrus’ deal. And, what do you know, Kemp is a right-handed power bat, which is something the Rangers desperately need. Might there be the framework for some kind of deal?
A few weeks ago, prior to the trade deadline -- and prior to the Rangers trading Joakim Soria to Detroit -- in a post-game post, I threw out the idea of the Rangers using Soria to acquire Kemp. It was the type of random thought that had absolutely no wings, but sort of made sense in my head for some reason. Now, Evan Grant is posing a similar thought, albeit the trade piece in question here has been the franchise shortstop since 2009.
Kemp has provided an OPS of .822 this season for the Dodgers, and he's been something a bit closer to the MVP-caliber player the Dodgers gave a hefty contract to since the All-Star break, with the normal caveat that, yes, it's an extremely small sample size. Regardless, I still like Kemp's offensive tools, and I think it's possible that they'd play fairly well in Arlington.
Kemp has been on record as saying he sees himself as an everyday center fielder, which isn't a spot he would likely man if he played in Arlington, and for that matter, a spot he's not even playing in Los Angeles at the moment. Even at that, if his current offensive tear continues, part of me thinks that the Dodgers would be hesitant to make him the "odd man out", so to speak, in their current outfield logjam.
Then again, crazier things have been known to happen, especially when it concerns the Dodgers, so it could be that the idea Grant is throwing out there is a little more likely to happen than it might seem at the moment.
Regardless, it's an interesting idea to ponder. I know many have expected the front office to be rather quiet in free agency this offseason due to the current contracts owed, but if the organization really feels it can contend as early as 2015, I don't see spending being a major hurdle if adding a piece or three are viewed as a legitimate option to preventing the depth problem the ball club has run into this season with all of the injuries. What are your thoughts? Would you like to see something like an Elvis for Kemp deal, or does the idea totally turn you off?