The Rangers approach the offseason looking to improve from a very good year this past year and take the next step. Of course the best part of the offseason is seeing which free agents are available and who will be on the move. Jon Heyman put together his list of the top 50 free agents that will heat up the hot stove this offseason.
"Inside Baseball: Top 50 free agents, ranked by dollars and projections – CBS Sports"
There are always areas each team can improve in, and here are the guys I would love to see in a Rangers uniform (if money were not an object):
1. Yoenis Cespedes: Left field might be one hole the Rangers have coming into next year. Josh Hamilton certainly has had his issues staying healthy, Will Venable is a role player (and a free agent) and Mike Napoli should never be used in the outfield. This was just kind of a gray area for the Rangers down the stretch. Getting Cespedes would provide a power bat with speed to burn in the outfield. He would come to a hitter’s park and he could really show off the power he has. However with the money tied into Shin-Soo Choo, I wonder if the Rangers might not want to tie up so much money into the outfield.
2. Yovani Gallardo: The Ft. Worth native had a good year in his first year in Texas, and I want him back.
3. Mike Napoli: Like Gallardo, he’s a guy that just belongs in Texas. He didn’t fare his best in Boston, and his best years were with Texas and he provides a steady glove at first base as well as some power.
4. Matt Wieters: Some stability at catcher would be nice. The Rangers used Chris Giminez, Robinson Chirinos, Bobby Wilson and Carlos Corporan last year behind the plate. Wieters is a very good defensive catcher and he has some power (had three straight 20+ homerun seasons from 2011-13). The concern is his health—as he has only played in 101 games the last two seasons. But all four catchers from 2015 are headed for arbitration. So there could be a hole to fill at catcher.
5. Ryan Madson: He’s been around a while, won two World Series championships (one with Kansas City this past year and one with Philadelphia in 2008). He can be used in a variety of roles out of the pen. He racked up 32 saves in 2011 with the Phillies, so he can be used in that role if necessary (i.e. if Shawn Tolleson goes on the DL).
Now, here are the players the Rangers are most likely to go after:
1. Yovani Gallardo: I can’t see the native Texan leaving the Lone Star State. The Rangers already extended a qualifying offer, so he should be locked in for next year.
2. Mike Napoli: I imagine he will be willing to give the Rangers a home town discount to stay here. If it were up to me, he would open as the starting first baseman.
3. Matt Wieters: There has been a report that the Rangers will pursue Wieters as long as he doesn’t get a qualifying offer from the Orioles. http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/writer/jon-heyman/25345506/inside-baseball-harvey-bought-arm-insurance-plus-more-mlb-notes
4. Darren O’Day: The former Ranger had a good year in Baltimore. I admit I would be somewhat leary about bringing him back to Texas, but I think they may do just that.
5. Colby Rasmus: The Rangers stole Delino DeShields from the Astros, why not take another outfielder from Houston? Rasmus would come much cheaper (and with much less fanfare) than Cespedes would. He would solidify left field and offer some power to the lineup.