Rangers Top 30 Targets
This is the opposite of last off-season. The Rangers went after Cliff Lee, narrowly missed and had to move on to “Plan B”, Adrian Beltre, which worked out very nicely. This year, the Rangers won the Yu Darvish bidding, “Plan A”, they now have 30 days to hammer out a deal. Everything is likely to be put on hold until Darvish has signed. Once Darvish dons #11 at his press conference in Arlington, the Rangers can move on and further improve the team.
A month ago, I compiled a board of 30 players, whom the Rangers were likely to target. The board is now down to 20, and has been updated. This list is not a most-to-least talented, but rather a priority list, of players that make the most since, dollars and prospects-wise to the Rangers. For example, Yu Darvish is “Plan A” and Juan Carlos Oviedo is the Rangers’ “Plan Z-4”.
1) Yu Darvish- SP, Nippon-Ham Fighters, 25, free agent with posting fee
“Plan A” BINGO The Rangers won the right to negotiate with Yu Darvish for nearly $52 million.
2) Christopher John Wilson- SP, Texas Rangers, 30, free agent type A
“Plan B” never really got off the ground. The Rangers had all their attention and dollars earmarked for Darvish. C.J. signed with the Angels for a reasonable 5 years and $77.5 million.
3) Prince Fielder- 1B, Milwaukee Brewers, 27, free agent type A
“Plan C”: Did you see the offense and defense the Rangers rolled out in the playoffs at first base? But, Nolan Ryan and JD have stated Mitch Moreland is the 2012 first-baseman. However, there’s a mild chance Moreland is dealt for another piece of the puzzle. Michael Young has neither the glove or power for 1B. Mike Napoli is a great asset behind the plate and an average one at 1B. The Rangers could still go hard after Fielder, even after committing big dollars for Darvish.
4) James Shields- SP, Tampa Bay Rays, 29
“Plan D”: Shields just got about a $3 million bump in salary from the Rays- that means they’ll be looking to deal him. The Rays however are known to be tough negotiators and will try to hold the Rangers up for their best prospects. Last year the Rangers wanted a deal featuring Derek Holland and others for Matt Garza. The fact that Shields has two more seasons of options after 2012, makes him doubly intriguing.
5) B.J. Upton- CF, Tampa Bay Rays, 27
Upton is due a raise through salary arbitration which might put him on the market with Shields. Upton hits in a pitcher’s park, and has hit well on the road, and hits in a lineup with multiple offensively challenged hitters. If he moved to RBiA and into the Rangers lineup, with plenty of runners on base and protection, oh, and in a contract year, I could see Upton having a huge year in a Rangers uniform in 2012.
6) Matt Cain- SP, San Francisco Giants, 27
The Giants will could be tempted to move Cain now or at the trading deadline. He is due $15 million in 2012, also a contract year. If the right offensive pieces are dangled, the Giants would have to listen. The Rangers have plenty of offense to go around. Problem with Cain is that he is a heavy fly-ball pitcher to the Colby Lewis degree; only, Cain has somehow managed to avoid the long ball. That being said, there is a likelihood he could tank in the AL and in RBiA.
7) Jonathan Papelbon- RP, Boston Red Sox, 30, free agent type A
The Philadelphia Phillies wasted no time in giving Papelbon a terrible contract.
8 ) John Danks- SP, Chicago White Sox, 26
The White Sox are always looking to deal, and even more so after a disappointing season. Danks is one year away from free agency, so the Sox might not see him in their long-term plans. Jon Daniels can redeem himself for dealing away Danks five winters ago.
9) Josh Willingham- OF, Oakland A’s, 32, free agent type A
The Minnesota Twins recently signed Willingham to a 3 year, $21 million contract.
10) Carlos Pena-1B, Chicago Cubs, 33, free agent type B
Yes, Carlos Pena is what the Rangers need. Yes his AVG is always around .200. That’s because he is defenseless against lefties, .210 career AVG. Flip it around and he hits for a .883 OPS against righties. He plays great defense, he is familiar with the Rangers and Wash, and he will probably cost a tenth of what Fielder will get.
11) Joe Nathan-RP, Minnesota Twins, 36, free agent
BINGO! Nathan was “wowed” by Nolan Ryan into signing a two year $14.5 million pact.
12) Roy Oswalt- SP, Philadelphia Phillies, 34, free agent type A
Two bad things about Oswalt: He’s never pitched in the AL and he only pitched 139 innings last season hampered by injuries. Two good things: He’s familiar with Texas and he is an ace, or at least more of an ace than anyone else available. Weigh them as you will. Oswalt received very little interest when he began the winter by asking for three years, he’s now willing to take a one year deal- interest has picked up in acquiring the ol’ Astro.
13) Jair Jurrjens- SP, Atlanta Braves, 25
Jurrjens is a native of Curacao, same as Rangers top prospect, Jurickson Profar. Jurrjens has two more arbitration years left and the Braves have a handful of starting pitching options. They already pawned Derek Lowe on the Indians. However Jurrjens limped to the end of the season with knee injuries. The Braves would like to acquire some of the Rangers offense in this scenario. But the cat’s out of the bag with Jurrjens- stat-wise, he’s not very good, not enough strike-outs, too much pitching to contact.
14) Joakim Soria- RP, Kansas City Royals, 27
Soria is under team control for three more seasons. The Royals could be looking to expedite their rebuilding process with the Ranger’s prospect jewels. Actually the Royals will take any former Rangers (Jeff Francoeur, Luis Mendoza, Greg Golson, Robinson Tejada, Max Ramirez, John Wittleman, to name six) If the Royals are talking high-end prospects, the Rangers would want Soria.
15) Gio Gonzalez- SP, Oakland A’s, 26
Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill got extensions from the A’s. Gio did not. The A’s are another team lacking in offense, with surplus in pitching. There could be something to work with here. Although, its been suggested that Martin Perez, the Rangers top pitching prospect, would undoubtedly be included in any deal for Gio. I’m on-board if it’s just Gio for Perez, straight-up, although Beane would likely want even more.
16) Grady Sizemore-OF, Cleveland Indians, 29, free agent
Sizemore resigned with the Indians to a one year, $5 million base salary contract.
17) Carlos Quentin-OF, Chicago White Sox, 29
Quentin is expected to be one of the biggest bats available in the trade market this winter. Like Danks, Quentin is a free agent after 2012.
18) Edwin Jackson- SP, St. Louis Cardinals, 28, free agent type B
Free agent starting pitchers, under 30 are always attractive options, or maybe there’s a reason he’s been traded six times.
19) Ricky Nolasco- SP, Miami Marlins, 28
The Marlins tout themselves as big fish now they’re in Miami. Maybe they’ve already gone over budget and realize they owe $20 million to Nolasco, who has tons of potential, but has been pedestrian. The Rangers would like to be the ones to unlock that potential.
20) Andrew Bailey- RP, Oakland A’s, 27
Billy Beane has traded away every closer he’s ever had, only to replace them with a more economical option. Bailey should get a bump in salary. Question is, will Beane settle for just the planet Jupiter, or will he need Mars, too.
21) Ryan Doumit- C, 1B, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates, 30, free agent type B
Doumit signed a one year, $3 million deal with the Twins.
22) Tyler Clippard- RP, Washington Nationals, 26
2011 was a watershed year for Clippard, he set career highs in just about every statistical category and made the All-Star team. The Nats have been on the lookout for a CF for a while now. The Rangers may not have the best CF available but they do have the largest selection: Julio Borbon, Craig Gentry, Engel Beltre, Leonys Martin.
23) Carlos Marmol-RP, Chicago Cubs, 29
Theo Epstein is in town now. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him attempt to rid the Cubs of Marmol, even after trading Sean Marshall to the Reds.
24) Marlon Byrd-OF, Chicago Cubs, 34
Byrd is entering his walk year in the deal he signed after resurrecting his career in the RBiA. I don’t think Byrd would mind having another contract year in the ballpark.
25) Nick Markakis- OF, Baltimore Orioles, 27
Markakis is owed $44 million through 2014. Ouch. He’s not much for power, but the guy gets on base regularly. Adding another regular lefty bat to the everyday lineup might not be a bad idea. He could likely play some 1B for the Rangers too.
26) Heath Bell- RP, San Diego Padres, 34,
Bell signed with the Miami Marlins for three years at $9 million a year.
27) Huston Street- RP, Colorado Rockies, 28
Street was traded to the San Diego Padres for salary relief.
28) Jonathan Sanchez-SP, San Francisco Giants, 28
Sanchez was traded to the Royals for Melky Cabrera.
29) Kevin Youkilis- 1B,3B, DH, Boston Red Sox, 32
The Red Sox just might squeeze Youkilis out of the line-up much like they did to Mike Lowell a few years a go. The Rangers could probably fine at-bats for the ‘Greek God of Walks‘. Only problem, the right side of the infield may be unavailable late September, for Rosh Hashanah. Ian Kinsler and Youk are both Jewish. It is unknown to me how a Jewish guy becomes a Greek god.
30)Leo Nunez or Juan Carlos Oviedo-RP, Miami Marlins, 28 or ??
“Plan Z-4”: It is unknown whether Oviedo is going to be able to play in America in 2012. It is unknown whether he is even in his 20’s anymore. It is unknown if either of the above names are actually his. However, it is known, that I spent too many words on a reliever that the Rangers are known not to be targeting.