Rangers Free Agents: Top 10 Pitching Targets This Offseason
The Rangers have some work to do this offseason, as do a lot of teams. A big priority is their pitching staff. They have holes to fill in both the rotation and bullpen.
It wasn't all bad news in 2012. Yu Darvish emerged as the team's ace and Matt Harrison had a terrific season. However, Derek Holland took a big step back and Neftali Feliz and Colby Lewis had major arm surgeries.
In terms of the bullpen, Mike Adams and Koji Uehara are both free agents, Alexi Ogando has expressed his desire to pitch in the rotation, and Joe Nathan didn't pitch particularly well down the stretch.
This year's free-agent class isn't the deepest, but there are several players the Rangers can target to improve the ball club.
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As mentioned earlier, the Rangers have some holes they need to fill in the bullpen. Broxton is one of the best options via free agency.
He had an excellent second-half with Cincinnati after being acquired at the deadline.
The 28-year-old fireballer has excellent control and does not surrender many home runs.
Broxton is a two-time All-Star with the Dodgers who would fit in well with Texas in a late inning role. He can also close if need be.
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Myers is another possible addition to the bullpen if Texas decides not to bring back Mike Adams or Koji Uehara.
Overall, he made 70 appearances out of the pen and pitched well.
If the Rangers reach a deal with Myers, he gives them a veteran arm with postseason experience.
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If the Rangers are looking for a potential bargain, Soria is probably their best bet.
Soria will be coming off Tommy John surgery when he returns in 2013, which should drive his asking price down.
At his best, the 28-year-old was one of the top relievers in baseball. He had a career high 43 saves in 2010, striking out 71 batters in 65 innings.
If he returns with his electric stuff, he will provide a fearsome duo at the back of the Rangers’ bullpen with Joe Nathan. He can also save games when needed.
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The 30-year-old posted an ERA under four each of those four years and eclipsed 200 innings in 2011.
His numbers aren’t always flashy, but he keeps his team in ballgames and gives them a chance to win.
Injuries are the main concern, continuing an unfortunate theme on this list. Marcum missed all of 2009 and several starts in 2012.
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Jackson has played for seven teams in his 10-year career with varying degrees of success. He has started 30 games or more for six straight years, pitched a no-hitter in 2010 and was an All-Star the year before that.
The 28-year-old had a productive season for Washington and projects as a middle-of-the-rotation guy moving forward.
If Texas is searching for someone who will make every start and eat up some innings, Jackson is worth taking a look at.
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It would be an interesting homecoming for McCarthy if he signs with Texas, the team that acquired him from Chicago in 2006 for John Danks.
It’s safe to say the White Sox got the better end of that deal, but since leaving the Rangers McCarthy has quietly turned into a productive starting pitcher. He set career highs in almost every category in 2011: 25 starts, 170 innings, 123 strikeouts, nine wins and a 3.32 ERA.
He might have surpassed those numbers in 2012 if an unfortunate line drive didn’t strike him in the head and force him to miss the rest of the season.
If he can stay healthy, the 29-year-old is a solid arm in the rotation for a relatively low price.
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Haren will hit the free-agent market if the Angels decide not to pick up this 2013 option. This is a definite possibility considering they might attempt re-signing Zack Greinke instead.
The 2012 season was a bit of a down year for Haren. He dealt with injury and saw his streak of seven straight 200-plus innings snapped.
Despite this, the 32-year-old would still be an excellent addition to a rotation. He has a lifetime 3.66 ERA and is traditionally a very durable pitcher. He also has plenty of experience in the AL West.
The Rangers witnessed first hand how tough it is to win with a rotation ravaged by injuries and inconsistencies. If they think Haren can bring some stability, he would be worth signing.
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Sanchez is hitting free agency at a great point in his career.
The 28-year-old has started 30-plus games and posted an ERA under four in each of the past three seasons. He also struck out over 200 batters in 2011 and has a no-hitter to his name.
His performance in the 2012 postseason will only add to his number of suitors this offseason: 1.35 ERA and 10 strikeouts in two games.
The Rangers have some uncertainty in their rotation heading into next year, so Sanchez would add a good deal of stability.
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Peavy is as good as they get when healthy and at the top of his game.
The 31-year-old started over 30 games this past season for the first time since 2007, and the White Sox enjoyed the results. He finished top 10 in the American League in ERA, innings pitched and opponent’s batting average.
If Peavy can replicate those numbers going forward, he is a terrific option in the rotation.
The big issue is his history of injuries. The Rangers have been very hesitant the past few years to invest a lot of money in players on the other side of 30, and his tendency to land on the D.L. complicates the situation even more.
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Greinke is the pitching equivalent to Josh Hamilton in this free agent class. He is the top player at his position and will no doubt command a huge contract. He is only 28 years old, so he should have plenty of good pitching ahead of him.
What might scare a team like the Rangers away is Greinke’s battle with anxiety. However, the former Cy Young winner just finished a very successful stint with the Angels, where he was one of the best pitchers in baseball down the stretch. His performance in Los Angeles should instill confidence in him from other big market teams.
Along with Yu Darvish, the addition of Greinke would give Texas a powerful one-two punch at the top of the rotation that not many other teams can match.