As the free-agent market is expected to stall late into the offseason, teams like the SF Giants and Texas Rangers could find that they can help each other through trades.
While free-agency remains the primary avenue for MLB teams to add talent this offseason, ownership groups around the league are limiting their front-offices spending capacity. With potentially greater restrictions than usual, it could create a more active trade market than usual. If so, the SF Giants and Texas Rangers should have some interesting conversations.
Both teams have been on the outside of playoff contention looking in for the past few years, but the Rangers have been much more aggressive in their postseason pursuit. Now that the Giants seem better prepared to compete in the near future, it might make sense for them to target some of Texas’ veteran talent.
There are some fits that go in the other direction if the Rangers are looking to fill some roster holes or acquire some depth to make other moves, but the Giants seem better positioned both financially and in their farm system to make a major acquisition. Texas’ general manager Jon Daniels has been quite clear that the team will be rebuilding in 2021.
SF Giants-Texas Rangers Trade Fit: Lance Lynn
Lance Lynn has been the white whale of the starting pitching trade market for some time. One of the sturdiest arms in the league since signing a three-year, $30 million contract with the Rangers, Texas has been receiving calls on the righty for over a year. However, they’ve maintained a high asking price.
With only one season left of team control though, and ownership restrictions on payroll, Texas might become more willing to budge. Lynn is owed a reasonable $8 million salary in 2021 and has led the league in batters faced for two seasons in a row while managing a 3.57 ERA and 3.43 FIP. While not an obvious ace, he’d add some much-needed certainty to a shaky Giants rotation.
A package built around 2020 first-round pick Patrick Bailey with a couple of 40 future-value prospects seems like a fair package. Of course, as previously stated, the Rangers have been irrational in their asks for Lynn thus far. At the deadline, they reportedly asked for Drew Waters or Cristian Pache from Atlanta, suggesting Heliot Ramos or Hunter Bishop would be the worst Giants prospect they would accept as a centerpiece.
It’s hard to envision the Giants paying such a prospect premium, but top free-agent starters are few and far between this offseason. Lynn has just $8 million in remaining guarantees and would easily be the second-best starter available if he were on the open market. Perhaps the Giants are serious enough about competing in 2021 to pull the trigger, but that seems unlikely without the price coming down.