Rangers Update: Arenado, Nicasio, and Strop

Chris Halicke

The Rangers are still active in adding to the roster and there are updates some new and old targets the Rangers have coveted. 

The team is currently in the middle of mini camp and are 22 days away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training. The Rangers aren't opposed to adding to the roster once they make their way to Surprise, but they'd like to have their ducks in a row beforehand. 

The past couple of days have included some interest in a couple relief pitchers and closure on that high marquee player that plays third base.

Nolan Arenado Trade Talks 'Off the Table'

The Nolan Arenado talk, at least for now, can finally cease.

On Monday night, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reported that Rockies GM Jeff Bridich is no longer listening to trade offers for all star third baseman Nolan Arenado. 

The Rangers, along with the Braves and the Cardinals, have been in some form of contact with the Rockies about a trade for Arenado. With the season rapidly approaching, it's obvious Colorado is focusing on what they have internally for 2020.

The Rangers addressed third base already this winter by signing Todd Frazier. Adding Frazier didn't take them out of the running for Arenado since Frazier has the ability to move across the diamond to first base.

If Colorado struggles this season, they could revisit an Arenado trade after the All Star break. If the Rangers are in contention for a playoff spot at that point, they could make a push then. 

UPDATE: Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reported that Nolan Arenado was asked about Jeff Bridich's comments on the trade talks being put on hold for now. Arenado's comments were loud and clear.

“I really don’t care what’s being said. I just know that I feel disrespected over there.”

Even stronger words were sent via text from Arenado to MLB.com.

"There's a lot of disrespect from people there that I don't want to be a part of. You can quote that."

If tension continues to rise in Colorado, the Rockies may be looking at the end of a marriage with the superstar not even two seasons after they signed him to a massive, 8-year extension. If and when that end materializes has yet to be seen, but the Rangers can potentially benefit from Arenado's unhappiness in Colorado.

Rangers Sign Veteran Reliever Juan Nicasio to Minor League Contract, Per Report

The Rangers added another arm to the bullpen mix by signing Juan Nicasio to a Minor League contract with an invite to spring training, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today. 

Nicasio enjoyed a very successful 2017 season with Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and St. Louis. He appeared in 76 games (most in the National League) and owned a 2.61 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP. 

His 2018 and 2019 were not quite as impressive. He has a 5.34 ERA in 93 appearances over the past two seasons, where he was with Seattle in 2018 and Philadelphia in 2019. 

Nicasio is looking to find that 2017 form where he was a dominant reliever that could pitch in the seventh or eighth inning. The Rangers are bringing him in to allow him to compete for that spot.

Rangers Are Eyeing Pedro Strop, Per Report

Juan Nicasio doesn't seem to be the only reliever the Rangers are interested in. According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet, the Rangers are one of the teams interested in veteran reliever Pedro Strop.

Strop, a former Texas Ranger, has spent the majority of his career with the Chicago Cubs, where he established himself as one of the most dominant relievers in the back end of the bullpen in baseball. He finished with a sub-3.00 ERA for five straight seasons for the Cubs from 2014-2018.

His production dropped off drastically in 2019, where his ERA inflated to 4.97 in 50 appearances. 

Strop spent 2009-2011 with the Texas Rangers, but was traded in 2011 to Baltimore as the "player to be named later" in exchange for reliever Mike Gonzalez. 

The Rangers are clearly looking to bring in veterans on low-risk, high-reward deals to add competition for the bullpen. They've experienced success with this strategy for their starting rotation, including Mike Minor and Lance Lynn. 

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