According to T. R. Sullivan at MLB.com, three big names are on Jon Daniels’s radar. Chris Sale, Andrew McCutchen, and Edwin Encarnacion.
Sale would fill the gaping hole in the rotation. McCutchen would solve centerfield for the foreseeable future. Encarnacion would add the power that Prince Fielder was expected to provide.
Sale and McCutchen would require a boatload of prospects. Encarnacion a boatload of money.
The Rangers have the money. With their weak farm system, it’s doubtful they have the prospects it would take to land a Sale or a McCutchen.
Considering the Rangers just threw away ten million dollars on Andrew Cashner, Chris Sale is a bargain. He has three more years on a contract that pays him $12 million in ‘17, $12.5 in ’18 and 13.5 million in ’19. Someone that good and that affordable won’t come cheap. A lot of other teams want Sale, teams with much better prospect to offer.
McCutchen is coming off his first down season and has two more years left on his contract, after which he is a free agent. He plays for a team that cannot afford its players. He is due $14 million in 2017, and $14.5 million in 2018. A bargain for a perennial MVP and centerfielder. Again, do the Rangers have the prospects it would take? If McCutchen is in demand from other teams as well, it’s doubtful the Rangers can compete.
Encarnacion is the biggest power bat available this free agent season. Over the past five seasons he’s averaged 37 home runs and 110 RBIs per year. All he would cost is money. A lot of money. The Red Sox need to fill the void left by David Ortiz retiring. They will go after him hard.
According to Daniels, “We’ve told agents we’re not going to do anything quick at first base or DH. We are focusing on starting pitching and the outfield.”
It’s doubtful the Rangers have what it takes to land Sale or McCutchen, or will spend the money it would take to get Encarnacion. But at least they are looking in the right direction.