The Big Board: Rangers Top 50 Targets
1 Felix Hernandez- while its unlikely that he lands on the block. JD & Co. will do their due diligence and will be all over him in the event that he becomes available. He will be pricey of course, but the Rangers are flush with prospects that others teams covet.
2 David Price- much more available, yet still going to cost a ton (most likely Elvis Andrus and then some). Price is exactly what Texas needs to compete in the playoffs, a battle tested ace. Also adding him years before free agency increases the chance that Texas can keep him long-term, because we all know Texas never lands big-time free agent pitchers. Which brings us to the ‘big-time free agent pitcher’…
3 Zack Greinke- The Angels have little leverage with Greinke, with Ervin Santana and Dan Haren on the outs; and even less when you consider the nightmare it would be if Greinke heel-turned and signed long-term with Texas. JD needs to make that nightmare happen.
5 Carlos Gonzalez- controllable, middle of the order, middle of prime outfielder. These things cost alot, and much like the aforementioned, if and when he’s made available Texas will be ready.
6 Justin Upton- mid 20s outfielder, middle of the order monster. He’s cut his strike-out rate in each of the past three seasons. With one MVP caliber season in the books, Upton could be a very valuable addition even if he never wins an MVP.
7 Alex Gordon- Kansas City may need to trade one of their core hitters for pitching, and to clear a path for prospect-phenom, Wil Myers. Gordon has quietly been a very valuable leadoff hitter for KC, while playing gold-glove defense in LF.
8 Travis D’Arnaud- Toronto has been cornering the market on any catcher with a pulse. D’Arnaud is their best and he’s also the best catcher in the minors. Texas would be very pleased to take some of Toronto’s surplus.
9 Cliff Lee- yeah, I know they said they aren’t going to break up their aces, but if they have a change of heart Texas still has a place in their heart for ol’ Cliff.
10 James Shields- his old-age numbers aren’t great, but his peripherals indicate he’s a top of the rotation pitcher.
11 Justin Masterson- the right-handed Matt Harrison if you will. Masterson is a groundball specialist which always works well in the ballpark.
12 Jeremy Hellickson- Tampa is crafty, and they’ve traded young starting pitchers before, like the next guy…
13 Matt Garza- Cubs are going nowhere with or without their best pitcher. Texas has had interest in Garza before, and JD did pull off two mid-season deals with the Cubs (Dempster/Soto)
14 Josh Johnson- Miami wanted the moon for him in July, if the price has dropped (probably has) Texas will be interested if a few other guys don’t fall into their lap.
15 Jacoby Ellsbury- boom or bust? MVP or disabled-list extraordinaire? Slim chance he signs long-term with Boston or anyone else, might make sense for Texas to swap one of their own free agents after 2013 (Nelson Cruz?)
16 Nick Swisher- everybody’s favorite… er.. um.. guy to hate. But they hate because he’s good. But he’s not $100M good, which is apparently the asking price.
17 Dan Haren- its always a good move to get a former Angel (Vlad, Darren Oliver, Napoli). If Haren regained form, it could top even how beneficial the Napoli deal(s) worked out, particularly since LA just paid him $3.5M to be a free agent.
18 Brian McCann- coming off shoulder surgery, Atlanta may explore their options with the hometown hero. McCann theoretically could replace Hamilton’s lefty bat, and Napoli behind the plate.
19 Carlos Santana- makes walking look sexy, which is something Texas could use a lot more of. Also he’s a switch-hitting catcher, basically a dream-boat of fantasy trade-ideas.
20 BJ Upton- will probably get more from another team than TX is willing to offer, but if the dominoes fall right…. An Upton family reunion in the outfield?
21 Ubaldo Jimenez- once an ace by every measure, now a forgotten starter whose inconsistencies mimic Derek Holland. Buyer beware.
22 Torii Hunter- lives locally in the metroplex, and like I said, former Angels- always a good idea, especially if it’s a one year deal.
23 Curtis Granderson- strikes out a ton, lefty power bat would be quite useful in Arlington. Also he’s probably the only guy on the planet with leadership skills that could rival Michael Young.
24 Mike Napoli- has been a top ten offensive catcher over the last two years. The other nine guys who have been more offensive probably won’t be available to replace him.
25 Gavin Floyd- the White Sox wrapped up a deal with Jake Peavy, which could make Floyd expendable.
26 Justin Morneau- few hitters have been as productive as Morneau has been, including Morneau over the last two seasons as he has battled injuries.
27 Shin Soo-Choo- a career .381 OBP hitter, Texas was linked to him at various points over the last few years.
28 Julio Teheran/ Randall Delgado- Atlanta has had extra starting pitchers for awhile now, and with Chipper Jones retiring, Mike Olt surely is a player they have an eye on.
29 Trevor Bauer/ Tyler Skaggs- same scenario as above.
30 Ryan Madson- an elite closer coming off a season deleted due to injury, he will likely have many options with teams wanting him on the cheap.
31 Shane Victorino- switch-hitting veteran outfielder, Victorino slumped through the whole season and played like a fourth outfielder. At his age it’s hard to justify paying him a regular outfielder’s salary.
32 Joakim Soria- very similar to Madson’s scenario, except I could see a team trying to stretch him out as a starter due to his more expansive arsenal of pitches, an idea Kansas City has flirted with before.
33 Nick Markakis- patient left-handed hitter, with a rocket arm in right field. He’s overpaid for what he brings to the table and has been injury prone the last few years. I could see Baltimore cutting ties, if the right offer is out there.
34 Wade Davis- was very effective in the bullpen last year, could be a nice replacement for Ogando in the 7th or 8th inning.
35 Jeff Niemann- the 6-9 righty would cost less than Davis. Texas would likely try to acquire him and plug him in as a late inning reliever.
36 Travis Hafner- David Ortiz-lite, very productive against righties when healthy. Would make for an excellent platoon partner for Michael Young, (hopefully) forcing Ron Washington to utilize Young in a more productive manner.
37 Domonic Brown- I see Brown like Nelson Cruz was with the Brewers, never really busting through and reaching potential. He could become an asset with a change of scenery.
38 AJ Pierzynsksi- one of the better receivers in the league for a long time. He would add an edge to the Rangers that they sorely lacked down the stretch, perhaps he is the bad cop to Face’s good cop.
39 Wilson Ramos- with the revolving door a catcher since Pudge Rodriguez was sent packing. Texas would surely like to add some continuity behind the plate with a young catcher.
40 Ichiro- from a box-office standpoint, this is a slam dunk. On the field, not so much.
41 Grady Sizemore- the ultimate low-risk, high-reward sign.
42 Nick Hundley- had a horrible 2012, after a break-out 2011 season. The Padres have their catcher of the future in Yasmani Grandal.
43 JP Arencibia- Toronto will likely be much more willing to part with Arencibia than D’Arnaud. Arencibia though strikes out at an alarming rate, and sports a career OBP below .300
45 Alfonso Soriano- not a very likely scenario for him to land back in Texas, since he doesn’t want to DH, but if Michael Young does get traded this winter it would likely be for a salary dump, which just so happens to be a synonym for Alfonso.
46 Daisuke Matsusaka- maybe Yu Darvish can show him how to not pitch backwards, and be aggressive. Dice-K won’t be the most sought after free agent, maybe Texas makes a sneaky move for the back of the rotation/bullpen.
47 Jarrod Saltalamacchia- Ryan Lavarnway is the Red Sox main catcher now, so Salty may be available. He found a power stroke in Boston, hitting 25 home-runs last year. He’s still just 27, and a switch-hitter.
48 Andruw Jones- assuming Jurickson Profar gets regular playing time at the big league level, it could make sense to sign Andruw to mash left-handed pitching, and mentor his fellow-countryman (Curacao), very similar to how Omar Vizquel mentored Elvis Andrus (Venezuelans) his rookie year.
49 Kelly Shoppach- always churning the catcher wheel, maybe this is the year the Fort Worth native lands at home.
50 Roger Bernadina- Washington’s outfield is crowded, the lefty made some strides this year. He probably won’t cost a ton, but could become a very useful fourth outfielder. Also a Curacao native.