Coming off their sixth straight season with a losing record, the Texas Rangers are aiming high in free agency as they look to upgrade their pitching staff.
Per MLB Network's Jon Morosi, the Rangers have contacted the agents for Jacob deGrom, Carlos Rodón and Japanese star Koudai Senga.
Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported deGrom has told the Rangers he's interested in them but that Rodón "may be a better fit for Texas ultimately."
They are also trying to re-sign Martín Pérez, though Jeff Wilson of Rangers Today noted Pérez will likely receive a qualifying offer after the sides reached an impasse in contract talks.
DeGrom has the highest risk-reward potential of any starter on the market. He had a 3.08 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 102 strikeouts last season for the New York Mets but only made 11 starts as he recovered from a shoulder injury.
Over the past two seasons combined, deGrom has only thrown 156.1 innings in 26 starts thanks to injuries.
Rodón is coming off the best two-year run of his MLB career. The left-hander has a 2.67 ERA. 1.00 WHIP and 422 strikeouts in 310.2 innings over 55 starts since 2021. He spent last season with the San Francisco Giants after playing for the Chicago White Sox in 2021.
Senga is little known to baseball fans in the United States, but the 29-year-old right-hander is ranked as the 18th-best free agent by The Athletic's Keith Law.
"He throws 100 mph with a plus splitter, while opinions on his slider vary from below-average to just slightly above," Law wrote about Senga's arsenal. "He does have a true curveball that looks like it would be at least an average pitch as well."
Playing for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Nippon Professional Baseball last season, Senga posted a 1.94 ERA with 156 strikeouts in 144 innings.
After the Rangers fired Jon Daniels as president of baseball operations in August, they seemingly handed over control of their front office to general manager Chris Young.
The Daniels-Young front office spent big last winter to bring in Corey Seager (10 years, $325 million), Marcus Semien (seven years, $175 million) and Jon Gray (four years, $56 million).
Those moves didn't produce the results Texas hoped for. The team finished fourth in the AL West with a 68-94 record. One of the biggest reasons the Rangers struggled is that the starting rotation was the fifth-worst in Major League Baseball by FanGraphs' wins above replacement (5.8).