White Sox acquire Nomar Mazara from the Texas Rangers
Helping address their glut of left-handed-hitting outfielders, the Chicago White Sox acquired outfielder Nomar Mazara from the Texas Rangers for minor-league prospect Steele Walker, according to TR Sullivan of MLB.com. This move helps the Rangers clear out some of their lefty power hitters in the outfield, while the White Sox are able to pair Mazara with Eloy Jimenez, Yoan Moncada, and potentially even Luis Robert as they look to be loading up to make a run at the postseason in 2020.
For Mazara, he looks to be a safe bet to be starting in one of the corner outfielder roles for the White Sox moving forward, as he has the better defensive profile to be playing right field, which means that Jimenez would become the full-time starter in left field.
While Mazara has had a very difficult time reaching his potential, including never having reached 2 WAR in his entire MLB career, his potential outweighs the risks here for the White Sox. With their postseason contention window looking to have been sped up due to the signing of catcher Yasmani Grandal and their interest in pretty much every top-flight starting pitcher on the free agency market, Mazara represents that go-for-it attitude that general manager Rick Hahn has been displaying this entire offseason so far.
In return, the Rangers received Walker, who was drafted in the second round, and has played up to the High-A level of minor-league baseball so far. John Blake, the Executive Vice President of Communications, was on record with saying that Walker will begin his 2020 season at the Double-A level, seemingly putting him on the fast track to join the big-league squad sooner rather than later.
Walker was a highly-regarded member of the White Sox organization, as he was commonly thought of as being around the tenth-best prospect in their system, which has a ton of potential dripping throughout. While the Rangers are not throwing in the towel by any means in terms of competing, their willingness to swap out Mazara, who only has two more years of arbitration eligibility left (including 2020), was an important move to make.
Not representing a true needle mover for any of the involved teams, the White Sox benefit from this trade because the addition of Mazara helps improve their outfield ranks, both in the field defensively and at the plate on the offensive end. Mazara hit a ball a whopping 505 feet last year against Reynaldo Lopez and these same White Sox, so their first-hand experience with what Mazara can do is definitely going to make him fit in just fine.
For the Rangers, Walker is a down-the-road player in this acquisition, but their flexibility on the big-league roster currently helps free up a bit of space and money to help feed their reported interest in star third baseman Anthony Rendon, who looks to be all but gone from the reigning World Series champions, the Washington Nationals.
If this move lends itself in any way to bringing Rendon to Arlington, in a weird way it will also affect the White Sox, who now can benefit from the acquisition of one of the better hitting corner outfielders in the American League.