Rangers Rumors: Texas among teams targeting top Japanese superstar pitcher

Can the Rangers interrupt the Dodgers in this pursuit?
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks v Chiba Lotte Marines
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks v Chiba Lotte Marines / Sports Nippon/GettyImages

The lack of big moves by the Texas Rangers this past offseason has been a point of contention for some time now. Coming off a World Series win, you would think that a team that has been as aggressive as Texas has been would have been off to the races.

Instead, TV revenue uncertainty caused the team to take a very reserved approach to free agency and the trade market.

Time will tell if the Rangers' inactivity during the offseason will cost them. They still have a loaded roster and a rookie class that is the envy of the entire league, headlined by the wicked fast promotion of Wyatt Langford to the big leagues. However, it does appear that the Rangers are contemplating at least one big splash as soon as next offseason.

According to recent reports, several teams are heavily scouting Japanese superstar pitcher Roki Sasaki in anticipation of his impending arrival to the big leagues. Among the teams that appear to be interested in Sasaki are the Rangers, as it turns out.

Rangers Rumors: Texas to make move for Roki Sasaki?

Sasaki is a hot name at the moment, given the combination of the quality of his stuff and his age (he's just 22 years old). In fact, there are many who believe that he's a superior pitcher to Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who just signed a huge $325 million deal with the Dodgers.

However, Sasaki's path to MLB could be quite different than Yamamoto's and may end up being closer to Shohei Ohtani's first deal with the Angels. Unlike Yamamoto, Sasaki won't have enough playing time in Japan to avoid being subjecting to MLB's international free agent limits, so any contract he signs will be limited by teams' international bonus pools.

For the Rangers, their interest in Sasaki makes all the sense in the world. Even assuming that Sasaki was considered an IFA and signing him would take all of their international bonus pool money (and it probably would), Sasaki would still only cost a few million dollars versus the mega deals being handed out to top-end starters these days. Given the state of the Rangers' payroll situation and rotation, adding a pitcher of Sasaki's quality for a pittance has a lot of appeal.

Unfortunately, Sasaki's lower potential price tag also puts the entire league as a potential landing spot. Aside from the Rangers, four other teams have shown public interest in Sasaki including the Dodgers, Yankees, Mets, and Cardinals, with many already believing the Dodgers are heavy favorites.

Still, one cannot count out the Rangers here. Not only does Texas have one of the best rosters in baseball loaded with young talent, but they've also shown the the ability to persuade top Japanese talent to ignore their preference for the west coast, with the deal given to Yu Darvish being the most obvious example.

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