Earlier this week Fox Sports columnist ranked the top 5 free-agents the Texas Rangers should target this offseason. Some seem obvious, some seem like a good idea, and others seem like a longshot.
In the article it mentioned the following:
"“That said, GM Jon Daniels has some specific areas in need of addressing as he puts together his roster. Should he and his staff look to the free agent market rather than the trade market, a few intriguing options are out there if the price is right.” – FoxSports.com"
In the article they list Justin Upton, Bartolo Colon, Tim Lincecum, Dioner Navarro, and Colby Lewis as 5 free-agent targets for the Texas Rangers. That’s a left-fielder, couple of starting pitchers, and a catcher.
Starting with Justin Upton, I think the Rangers will make a run to pick him up. He would pair well with Josh Hamilton playing in left-field. Luckily they are getting a bargain with Hamilton because the Los Angeles Angels are paying a large sum of his salary. That means they could potentially have some extra cash for Upton. Last year Upton batted .251/.336/.454/.790 with 26 doubles, 3 triples, 26 home runs and 81 RBI over 620 plate appearances/150 games. Compare that to Hamilton’s .253/.291/.441/.732 with 8 doubles, 8 home runs, and 25 RBI over 182 plate appearances/50 games. Last season Upton made about $14.5 million compared to Hamilton’s $22.7 million and is owed about $28.5 million for the next 2 seasons. Overall, the Rangers are only on the hook for about $7 million for Hamilton’s contract. So will the Rangers sign Upton? In my opinion it looks like a no. Upton is the better player of the two, but I don’t think the Rangers would be willing to spend the kind of money it will require to bring Upton to Texas. That means we could have Hamilton in left and possibly Mike Napoli there as well.
Next on the list is the New York Mets starting pitcher Bartolo Colon. The Rangers might be targeting him because Yovani Gallardo passed on the qualifying offer. That doesn’t mean the Rangers won’t re-sign him, but in my opinion I think they’ll pass on both Colon and Gallardo. Last season Colon had a 4.16 ERA with a record of 14-13, 136 strikeouts, 24 walks, 1.238 WHIP, and 6.3 strikeouts per 9 innings. Last season he made $11 million and I’d guess he’ll probably receive about the same or more next season on a multi-year deal. On the other hand Gallardo had a 3.42 ERA with a record of 13-11, 121 strikeouts, 68 walks, 1.416 WHIP and 5.9 strikeouts per 9 innings. Rangers paid him $14 million last season and I’d expect him to get about the same on a multi-year deal. Between the two I’d rather see the Rangers re-sign Gallardo. In my opinion I think both options are unlikely.
The next two Tim Lincecum and Dioner Navarro both seem like longshots. I couldn’t see Lincecum coming to Texas without the Rangers overpaying for him. As far as Navarro goes, they tried to get him during a while back, but the Rangers were unsuccessful. Instead he signed with the Blue Jays and the Rangers went with J.P. Arencibia. A move that didn’t work out well for the Rangers. But, that gave Robinson Chirinos plenty of playing time. I think the Rangers will stick with Chirinos and Chris Gimenez as the catchers for the 2016 season. If they brought in Navarro, who batted .246/.307/.374/.682 with 7 doubles, 5 home runs and 20 RBI over 52 games /192 plate appearances, then I think that would mean they’d bump Gimenez back down. In my opinion Gimenez has done a lot to prove himself over the last two seasons and deserves a spot on the roster.
Lastly on the list is Colby Lewis. I think he had an outstanding season that was filled with remarkable moments. His work ethic, mental toughness, and physical ability remain just a strong as ever despite his injuries over the years.
This season he posted a 4.66 ERA with a record of 17-9, 142 strikeouts, 42 walks, 1.236 WHIP and 6.2 strikeouts per 9 innings. His 17 wins in a single season was a career best and so was his 204.2 innings pitched. Last year he was on my list of American Comeback Player of the Year. Unfortunately, I don’t get a vote and he didn’t win. But, I think I’m not alone when I say he was the Rangers Comeback player of the year last year and built on it very well this season. I think the Rangers will re-sign Lewis to a multi-year deal. Probably just a 2 year deal, maybe 3. I think Lewis wants to say in Texas just much as the Rangers want to have him back.
Overall, I think the Rangers have very solid baseball team. The good thing is there are not a lot of holes in this team. They do need injured players to return and to preform. They need players who have struggled to figure things out. And players who had a rough postseason to forget it and move on. I think a lot of that will happen and the Texas Rangers will have another good team in 2016.