Why should you care what anyone thinks about the top-10 free agents in the 2014 class? Why should you care what I have to say about said list? You shouldn’t care, but — but! — people love lists. It’s Journalism 101: Make a list, and people will want to read it. So I’m imploring you to read this article. To love this article. If you don’t love this article, then you don’t like journalism. If you don’t love this article, you are a traitor to our nation, and shame on you. May god have mercy on your soul.
So here’s Tim Dierkes from MLB Trade Rumors and his list of the top-10 free agents in an especially weak 2014 free agent class:
4. Brian McCann
7. Matt Garza
9. A.J. Burnett
10. Mike Napoli
I can’t lie: It’s a solid list. I’m not so keen on ranking Choo so high, mostly due to the fact that he can’t hit lefties (.215/.347/.265), but otherwise it ain’t half-bad.
It’s no secret the Rangers will likely go after Brian McCann quite hard, and in yesterday’s article I surmised it would likely take 3-4 years at $14-$15 million AAV, giving a beta commitment of $42 million and an alpha of $60 million.
In the past Texas has been linked to Jacoby Ellsbury, but with Hunter Pence receiving 5 years and $90 million, the market for Ellsbury will presumably surpass $100 million without breaking a sweat, probably something near 6 years and $125 million. Even that might be a little low.
The interesting names to keep in mind on this list — aside McCann — check in at #5 and #10. I’m not particularly familiar with Masahiro Tanaka’s array of pitches, but he’s only 24 right now, and in 181.0 IP this year in Japan he posted a 1.24 ERA, surrendering 142 hits and only 27 bases on balls. He’s not exactly in the Yu Darvish mode of striking hitters out (only 155), so if I had to pin a reason why the Rangers might not be so gung-ho in acquiring him, it would be that.
Plus, you know, how many Japanese pitchers can the D-FW media shit on at once? Darvish already more than fills that obligation of theirs.
The second name, at #10, is ex-Ranger Mike Napoli. As we all know, Napoli was a beloved figure in his two years in Arlington, and there was a heavy sentiment to bring him back in 2013, but only on the terms of the front office, which I imagine he didn’t appreciate very much. At this stage of his career, he isn’t more than a 1B/DH, but, as we also know, the Rangers are heavy in the market for a 1B/DH. It wouldn’t be terribly surprising to see him earn a 2-year, $26 million deal from somewhere, and if that’s the case then you can check the Rangers off that list right now. They simply won’t commit that much money to a player with such health concerns, particularly after the train wreck they experienced this year with Lance Berkman.
However, if Mike Napoli is interested in playing for a winner, and if he’s willing to do so on a lucrative one-year deal — possibly with an option for 2015 attached — then there is an extreme mutual benefit. With that said, I’m also not aware of the inner-dealings of the Rangers and Napoli, and if there was some love lost last offseason when Texas didn’t appear to want him as aggressively as he wanted them. Relationships, man.
Anyway, you tell me. You tell me what you are interested in, what you want the Rangers to do. This winter offers significantly more malleability than in years past, so it’s a question with no real wrong answer.