The Big Board: Rangers Top 25 Targets

Here’s the big board. This is my take at what names might be scribbled on the magical whiteboards in the Rangers’ offseason bunker. I’ve done this for the last two years. In the 2011 offseason, the Rangers landed Yu Darvish (#1) and Joe Nathan (#11). Last winter, they netted Joakim Soria (#32), A.J. Pierzynski (#38), and also landed Matt Garza (#13) at the trade deadline.  Feel free to pick away at this list routinely and cross off the names, as we get further into the off-season.
1) David Price- This would hurt prospect-wise, and he’s not exactly making the minimum anymore. He’ll earn about 30M over the next two years through arbitration. COST: Martin Perez, Jorge Alfaro, Rougned Odor.

2) Giancarlo Stanton- The Marlins already said they aren’t going to trade him. However, after his first run the arbitration he’ll probably be the highest paid Marlin at $5M. COST: Leonys Martin, Martin Perez, Jorge Alfaro.

3/4) Jose Bautista/Edwin Encarnacion – There might be something to work with here if Alex Anthopolous is interested in Ian Kinsler. COST: Kinsler, Perez.

5) Carlos Beltran- He’ll be 37 next April. However he’s posted a steady OPS+ of 128 the last two seasons. Including the postseason, Beltran has played 315 games over the previous two seasons.  Someone will place another two-year bet on him. COST: Two years, $30M, a draft pick, and draft pool money.

6) Brian McCann- I understand he’s the de facto crown jewel given his position and availability- but I just don’t see it. He’s 30 in February, probably won’t play the majority of his contract behind the plate, struggles against lefties, and missed 101 games over the past two seasons. COST: Five years, $80M, a draft pick and draft pool money.

7) Matt Kemp- Obviously durability is an issue here, but it would be an exciting buy-low if a heavy subsidy is involved. Kemp is owed $128M over the next six years.COST: Kinsler (with about $30M of the Kemp tab covered).

8) Jacoby Ellsbury- I don’t feel like this is a very realistic move given the massive contract it would cost. A possible deal would push him or Leonys Martin to left-field, where neither of their bats profile very well. JD will probably check-in and drive up the price for others, but eventually pass. COST: Seven years, $150M, a draft pick, draft pool money.

9) Shin-Soo Choo- Yes, he does draw walks at an awesome rate, but he’s a poor defender, struggles against lefties, and also strikes out quite a bit too. COST: Six years, $100M, a draft pick, draft pool money.

10) Mike Napoli- I’d imagine Boston will retain ol’ Nap, but if they balk over his hip again, maybe he’ll find a spot in Arlington. However, you should know that he had a BABiP of .367 last year. That mark was almost a .100-point increase over his 2012 campaign in Texas. COST: Three years, $39M, draft pick, draft pool money.

11) Ubaldo Jimenez- JD might be able to lock up Jimenez to a shrewd deal. He possesses top of the rotation talent but has been wildly inconsistent since he left Colorado. COST: Three years, $39M, a draft pick, draft pool money.

12) Curtis Granderson- He had multiple unfortunate injuries limiting his playing time in 2013. He will probably re-sign with the Yankees, but if he were available, he’d be a good bet to reach 40 home runs as he did in 2011 and 2012. COST: Three years, $45M, a draft pick, draft pool money.

13) Nelson Cruz- Wash wants him back, but he probably wants Jackie Moore back too. I think Texas will not match other team’s length in offers and will gladly take the compensation pick.  COST: Three years, $39M.

14) Pablo Sandoval- He always seems to be on the outs with his superiors in San Francisco. He is entering his last year of arbitration, and the Giants may look to free up some money after spending big on Tim Lincecum and Hunter Pence. He would be a nice option to have at third base to give Adrian Beltre time off. COST: Eh… I’m not sure.

15) Billy Butler- He’s probably not an everyday first-baseman, so it’s somewhat limiting. His OPS dropped below .800 for the first time since 2008. He does have two more years left on his current contract. Kansas City would probably want Kinsler, but they would need to toss in other pieces to make that more ideal for the Rangers. COST: Something with Kinsler in it.

16) Andre Either- He’s been a pretty consistent hitter the past three seasons, tallying OPS+ in the 122 neighborhood. He’s not much of a defender, but his career OBP of .362 would be a nice addition to the line-up. Either is owed $69M for the next four seasons, with a possible vesting option or buy-out for the fifth year. COST: Kinsler (with about $25M incoming to pay for Either).

17) Scott Kazmir- He rebounded nicely, after playing indy-ball for the Sugar Land Skeeters in 2012. His 9.2 K/9 last year aligned with his career numbers and if he can maintain his 3.45 K/BB rate he’d be worth a gamble at the back of the rotation.COST: Two years, $16M.

18) Marlon Byrd- He looked like he was done after 2012, hitting .210 in 47 games. But he got up off the mat and slugged .511 in 2013. JD passed on a multi-year deal for Byrd four years ago, and I think he will this time too. COST: Two years, $16M.

19) Corey Hart- He had surgeries on both of his knees, while missing the entire 2013 season. He probably shouldn’t be entrusted with a corner outfield position but rather first base or DH. He would effectively replace Nelson Cruz’s bat. Hart’s career triple slash: .276/.334/.824; Cruz’s career triple slash: .268/.327/.823. COST: One year, $8M.

20) Jason Kubel- He had a dreadful 2013, registering an OPS+ of 69 with the Diamondbacks and Indians. He’s an excellent buy-low option. He’s left-handed, has pop (30 home runs in 2012), and would be quite cheap. COST: One year, $3M.  

Dan Allsup is a  Senior Staff Writer for Shutdown Inning. You can reach him on Twitter @DanAllsup, or email him at
Dan Allsup

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