Jul 28, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Texas Rangers relief pitcher Ross Wolf (55) walks off the field in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Trade Rumors Has Their Top-10 Free Agents Listed

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:

1. Robinson Cano

2. Jacoby Ellsbury

3. Shin-Soo Choo

4. Brian McCann

5. Masahiro Tanaka

6. Ervin Santana

7. Matt Garza

8. Hiroki Kuroda

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.

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  • Tabe13

    It hurts to say it, but I think Sardinas gets traded next offseason. He will build his resume next year and gets gone in ’14. If the opportunity presents itself, Odor may be gone as well. But Profar has to be here. Do you see Ian in LF or 1B? And as the new GM of the Rangers, are you chasing a DH free agent after signing Big Brian? Or are you pulling the trigger on Sardinas and Co for a bat?

    • Eric Reining

      I’m pretty sure the Ian-to-the-outfield idea is as good as dead. With his injury history and declining skill set, I imagine 1B is his destination. Obviously his bat won’t translate offensively like a normal everyday 1st baseman, but under that scenario I think his defense would be incredible, and he still provides value on the bases.

      As GM: I sign McCann, sign Soto as his backup, and trade Luke Jackson, Rougned Odor, Luis Sardinas and Nick Williams for Carlos Gonzalez.

      Then my lineup would be something like:

      1. Kinsler – 1B
      2. Profar – 2B
      3. Gonzalez – LF
      4. Beltre – 3B
      5. McCann – C
      6. Rios – RF
      7. L/R Platoon – DH
      8. Martin – CF
      9. Andrus – SS

      Bench: Gentry, Soto, Rosales, L/R platoon hitter.

      Wishful thinking? Definitely. Carlos Gonzalez will probably cost more than what I offered, and Ron Washington would surely set his lineup differently. But that is what I would do.

      • Joe_Coco

        I like the though but I have my doubts about Kins moving for the next few yrs. and “I think” Pofar is going to become our very day 3rd baseman and Beltre is moving to DH sooner rather than later. I know he would fight this tooth and nail but his hamstrings just aren’t everyday players anymore. (as I’m writing this I’m wondering if Beltre would move to first? not likely but…)
        McCann and Soto I love if we could that done.
        I have a feeling that this might be the last time anyone talks about our farm system for a while anyway because Cargo, Stanton would cost a ton!
        The rest of the guys on the list I just don’t see as a fit.

      • caseyabell

        Really can’t see the Rockies trading Gonzalez (or Tulowitzki) for prospects. The reaction from the Colorado fanbase would just be too negative after a humbling season. It would take serious major-league talent to get either guy, especially because they’re under contract for such a long time.

        And I’m not at all sold on Profar as the everyday anything. Yeah, I know it wasn’t much of a sample this season, but the 63/26 K/BB ratio in 324 plate appearances is worrisome. It got around the league in a hurry that this guy was an impatient hitter who would chase. Give him a full season, and you might be looking at 120 K’s with not many homers or walks to make up for all the whiffs. WAR is brutal (isn’t it always?) on this guy, and I can see why.

        I do like Andrus in the nine-hole, though. Now please convince the Rangers that Elvis doesn’t belong anywhere near the top of the lineup.

        • Eric Reining

          Jurickson Profar played out of position in his age-20 season in 2013, and there’s nothing at all wrong with a 63:26 K-to-BB ratio. Especially not from a 20 year-old. It’s unrealistic to expect much more from a rookie not getting regular reps.

          Also, I don’t think “impatient hitter” is a very accurate description of what he did this year. His O-Swing% (balls he swung at outside the strike zone) was only 23.8%.

          For example, another rookie on the Rangers (26 years old), Leonys Martin, had his O-Swing% at 32.4%. Profar’s O-Swing% is comparable to Elvis Andrus (22.0%), who was in his 5th season this year.

          Profar also had a higher BB rate (8.0%) than Andrus (7.4%).

          • caseyabell

            Okay, if you want to bet the farm on Profar, good luck. But he rated out as a below replacement level player this year. Yeah, I know he’s young and he may improve. Or he may not. But in 2013 he didn’t walk much, he struck out a lot, and he didn’t hit for any power. Basically, he didn’t show anything good at all. (Comparing him to Andrus as a hitter is not a compliment. Andrus is just a bad hitter.)

            And I’m sorry, but the dream about Gonzalez from the Rockies for some prosepects is unrealistic. Especially after Profar’s year, nobody’s giving up a franchise player for some Rangers prospects.

          • Eric Reining

            If you honestly think Jurickson Profar is going to be the same player as he was in 2013, then. Okay, I guess.