It's being reported by multiple sources that Adrian Gonzalez has been traded (contingent on an extension being negotiated by Sunday afternoon) to the Red Sox for Casey Kelly, Mike Rizzo, Rey Fuentes and a PTBNL. This deal has some interesting implications for the Rangers, which we'll explore after the jump.
One of the Rangers' bigger question marks going into 2011 will be their 1B play. Mitch Moreland, while handling himself capably during his brief time with the club (especially in the World Series, where he was the Rangers' best offensive player), is still a relative unknown for the club. There are legitimate questions as to whether or not his offensive production, even at his ceiling, will be sufficient for the position. Meanwhile, Chris Davis' is struggling to prove himself to be more than a AAAA player and Justin Smoak is now plying his craft in the Pacific Northwest.
So how does the Gonzalez trade affect the Rangers? It establishes a base-line for any trade talks with Milwaukee regarding Prince Fielder, who has 1 remaining year of team control left with the Brewers. With the Red Sox now presumably out of the market for a cornerstone first baseman, what contending teams are left with such a need? The Yankees have Teixeira; the Angels have Kendry Morales; the Tigers have Cabrera; the White Sox have possibly Konerko and at the very least Dunn; the Twins have Morneau; the Giants have Huff and Brandon Belt on the way; the Cardinals have (for now) Pujols; the Reds have Votto; and the Phillies have Ryan Howard. This leaves teams like the Rays and Athletics, who have the prospects to acquire Fielder but who may not want to considering their payrolls could impede them from acquiring him or having a shot to re-sign him. The Braves are a possibility, but for the moment they seem to have faith in Freddie Freeman. Lastly, you have teams like the Dodgers, Mets, and Cubs, who may lack the ammunition to get Fielder and who may not be in a position to try. This leaves the Rangers and the Rockies as two teams who will have the prospects to acquire Fielder, the salary flexibility to acquire and potentially keep him, and who may need an extra offensive bump from the 1B position in a pennant race. It's worth noting that Fielder's agent is Scott Boras, who no doubt will make it difficult for any team to re-sign him.