Texas Rangers: Jason Hammel

A look at ten potential free agent signings

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30
10:00
AM CT
James ShieldsRick Osentoski/USA TODAY SportsJames Shields could be a fit for the Rangers' rotation this offseason.


FanGraphs has a contract crowd sourcing project where they rank the top free agents this offseason based on projected contracts.

The rankings project how much a particular player should make thanks to a formula they designed.

Last year, Shin-Soo Choo was projected to get a five-year $81.1 million deal by FanGraphs, the Rangers signed the outfielder to a seven-year $130 million deal. You can debate whether or not Choo deserved the contract he received just based on his injury-plagued season. Here's last year's project.

With that we rank 10 free agents listed among the best free agents by FanGraphs who might be targets for the Rangers.

1. James Shields

FanGraphs projected salary: Five years, $90 million.

Comment: Shields, the fourth-ranked free agent, is considered to be in the Rangers' wheelhouse in terms of salary demands. He’s not going to get Jon Lester money, however his 14-8 season with a 3.7 WAR for Kansas City was impressive. He also had a 5.46 ERA in the postseason that was a little concerning. Shields would make a solid No. 2/3 starter to Yu Darvish and a four-to-five year contract seems in line with what the Rangers want to do.

2. Russell Martin

FanGraphs projected salary: Four years, $56 million.

Comment: He’s expected to get a qualifying offer of $15.3 million and reject it. He batted .290/.402/.430 in 111 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Jeff Banister, the new Rangers manager, has a relationship with him from his time with the Bucs. If the Rangers make a play for Martin, ranked No. 6 by FanGraphs, it would mean prized minor league catcher Jorge Alfaro is at least two more years away from the big leagues. Martin will be 32 on Opening Day 2015 so his shelf life is roughly three years based on that age.

3. Nelson Cruz

FanGraphs projected salary: Three years, $45 million.

Comment: The Rangers are in need of a corner outfielder and a full-time DH. Cruz, a former Ranger who is No. 10 by FanGraphs, fits this need. His salary demands could rise over the projected $45 million especially after a .525 slugging percentage and a 3.9 WAR in 2014. There's a history here with Cruz and he was suspended for the final 50 games of the 2013 season. But is the salary too much?

4. Ervin Santana

FanGraphs projected salary: Three years, $39 million.

Comment: The 31-year-old right-hander threw 196 innings for the Atlanta Braves in 2014 and has made more than 30 starts the last five seasons. Santana, No. 11 by FanGraphs, went 18-23 in his last two seasons pitching in the AL. Santana could be a nice signing if Shields' salary gets to high for the Rangers.

[+] EnlargeBrandon McCarthy
AP Photo/Tony DejakBrandon McCarthy is another attractive option for the Rangers' rotation.

5. Brandon McCarthy

FanGraphs projected salary: Three years, $36 million.

Comment: The New York Yankees want to re-sign the righty, who is coming off a career-high 200 innings of work in 2014. McCarthy, ranked No. 13, had a WAR of 3.0 and is more of a No. 3 starter. Say the Rangers can’t sign Shields or another top-tier free agent, McCarthy becomes a nice pitcher behind left-hander Derek Holland and Darvish. The Yankees, desperate for pitching, might overpay to retain the former Ranger.

6. Colby Rasmus

FanGraphs projected salary: Three years, $30 million.

Comment: He’s primary a center fielder (732 games) with only 15 games total as a corner outfielder. Leonys Martin is the Rangers' leadoff man and the starting center fielder, but could he change positions, left maybe, or could Rasmus do it? Rasmus hit .225/.287/.448 for Toronto and was sat for younger players in September. A new venue and change of position might work for the No. 16-ranked free agent.

7. Jason Hammel

FanGraphs projected salary: Three years, $27 million.

Comment: The right-handed starter has pitched for five teams and struggled after a trade from the Chicago Cubs to the Oakland Athletics in 2014. He went 2-6 with the Athletics and in 13 starts pitched into the seventh inning four times. At No. 19, the 31-year old is a good No. 3 starter who might not command a ton of money.

8. Billy Butler

FanGraphs projected salary: Two years, $18 million.

Comment: A good durable player who might be a nice first baseman/DH to give Prince Fielder a break in the field and is the full-time DH. This is nothing against Mitch Moreland, but he’s coming off ankle surgery and it’s undetermined if he’ll be the same player. If you can upgrade with Butler, then it makes sense. He did have a poor -0.3 WAR and his strikeout percentage was 15.9 percent.

9. Torii Hunter

FanGraphs projected salary: One year, $10 million.

Comment: This is a one-shot deal. Hunter, 39, is a veteran player who can play a corner outfield spot and DH from time to time. If some of the younger Rangers aren’t ready to play the outfield yet, then Hunter is a smart play. You just wonder if Hunter wants to play here for one more season.

10. Justin Masterson

FanGraphs projected salary: One year $9 million.

Comment: Masterson will probably get more than a one-year deal from somebody but he dealt with knee problems and his sinker lost some velocity as the season progressed. He did make 25 starts last season between Cleveland and St. Louis. Ranked No. 36, the 29-year old Masterson, if healthy, might be a steal if someone wants to give him a chance.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers are sending a franchise-record seven players to the All-Star game July 10, but right-handed starter Yu Darvish is in the running to make it eight.

Darvish was on the bad end of the Rangers' 3-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Sunday evening. Darvish (10-5) gave up three runs on five hits in seven innings of work. He tied his season high with 11 strikeouts, but he let the go-ahead run score on a wild pitch in the sixth inning and gave up an insurance run on a leadoff homer by Brandon Moss in the seventh.

The AL and NL each have one roster spot left, with fans voting online through Thursday. The five candidates for the final AL roster spot are all right-handed pitchers: Starters Jake Peavy of the White Sox, Jason Hammel of Baltimore and Darvish along with relievers Jonathan Broxton of the Royals and Ernesto Frieri of the Angels.

"Just being selected among those other guys, they're all good pitchers," Darvish said through an interpreter. "Just being among them is an honor."

Darvish has downplayed a possible appearance in the All-Star game, and on Friday said he wasn't deserving of the honor. Yet, he won't get another chance to show fans he should go.

His next start is scheduled for Saturday, but it could move up to Friday should the Rangers decide left-hander Derek Holland is ready to return to the rotation from the disabled list.

Darvish didn't do any campaigning for votes after Sunday's game.

"The fans get to vote for the last spot," he said. "There's nothing much I can say on that. I'll just stay quiet and see what happens."

Matchup: Derek Holland vs. Tommy Hunter

May, 10, 2012
5/10/12
5:00
PM CT
BALTIMORE -- The final game of this four-game series (and the 10-game road trip) features LHP Derek Holland against RHP Tommy Hunter at 6:05 p.m. CT on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW. Here's a brief look at the matchup:

Holland (2-2, 4.43 ERA): The left-hander was able to put two rough starts behind him and pitch well in Cleveland, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits with three walks and six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings of a Rangers win Saturday. ... Holland got a no-decision, but the club won on Adrian Beltre's pinch-hit three-run homer in the 11th. ... Holland had three quality starts to begin the season before giving up 12 runs on 18 hits in 13 innings in losses to the Yankees and Rays. ... In three games (two starts) against Baltimore, Holland is 1-1 with a 5.11 ERA (seven runs on 12 hits with seven walks and 14 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings). ... His lone start vs. the O's in 2011 came at Camden Yards, and he pitched six scoreless innings on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

Hunter (2-1, 5.00 ERA): The 25-year-old former Ranger will be pitching on short rest after he was sent to the minors on Monday and then returns after Jason Hammel's knee soreness prevented him from starting today. ... Hunter gave up five runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings in the 17-inning marathon in Boston on Sunday. So he's pitching on short rest. ... His start prior to the one in Boston was a good one as he gave up two runs on seven hits in seven innings.

Hitters: The current Orioles are hitting just .162 against Holland. ... Only two batters have multiple hits off him -- Ronny Paulino (2-for-3) and Brian Roberts (2-for-7). ... Adam Jones is 0-for-4. ... Only two Rangers have faced Hunter -- Adrian Beltre (4-for-8, HR, 2 RBIs) and Mike Napoli (2-for-5, 2B, RBI).

Up next:
Fri. vs. LAA: RHP Yu Darvish (4-1, 2.54) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (4-2, 2.61), 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/TXA21
Sat. vs. LAA: LHP Matt Harrison (4-2, 5.11) vs. RHP Jerome Williams (3-1, 3.38), 12:10 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/FOX
Sun. vs. LAA: RHP Neftali Feliz (2-1, 3.38 ERA) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (5-0, 1.60), 7:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM/1540 AM/ESPN

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.18 133 170
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182