Sunday, October 30, 2011

Free Agent Wish List

This week I will post my free agent wish list. I have listed the six free agents that I want the most, the reason why I want them, the contract I would be willing to give him, and whether that contract will be enough to get him.

I did not post anything on the World Series, because I am still too depressed to think about it.

1. Prince Fielder, MIL

Prince is not only one of the best hitters in baseball, but would fit perfectly into our lineup. The Rangers lineup is righty-heavy, and is only lacking a first baseman and center fielder as far as hitting goes. Mitch Moreland is an average player both offensively and defensively, and that may be all he will ever be. And you can’t go wrong with Prince Fielder, as he is an unbelievable hitter. This past season, he hit .299 with 38 home runs and 120 RBIs. The year before that, he had a down year, hitting just .261 with 32 home runs and 83 RBIs. But in 2009, he had a monster year, hitting .299 with 46 homers and 141 RBIs. He has now had an OBP of over .400 for three consecutive years, which is unheard of.

What I Would Be Willing To Give: 8 years, $225 million, $28.125 million per year
Will That Be Enough: Probably, most offers are rumored to be at 7 years and around $180 million

2. Yu Darvish, JAPAN

Darvish is probably the most talented available pitcher this off-season. He is 25 and currently pitches for the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan. He is widely believed to be headed to the US this offseason, and the Rangers are one of the favorites to land him. Darvish has absolutely dominated Japanese hitters, with a 1.81 career ERA. In his four seasons, he has had ERAs of 1.82, 1.88, 1.73, and 1.78 in 207.2, 200.2, 182, and 202 innings pitched, respectively. He averages 9.2 strikeouts per 9 innings in his career. Scouts have said that he has as many as four plus pitches, and I would love to have him on the Rangers. He should be a true ace.

What I Would Be Willing To Give: $55 million posting fee, 5 years, $75 million, $15 million per year
Will That Be Enough: Probably, $55 million should be the top bid, and then Darvish would definitely accept 5 years, $75 million

3. CJ Wilson, TEX

CJ posted a 2.94 regular season ERA, was an All-Star, and threw 223.1 innings, but I still don’t consider him to be an ace even with those ace-like numbers. He is a great pitcher, and I would love to have him back, but his 0-3 postseason with a 5.79 ERA are not numbers that an ace would have in the playoffs. I would want to bring him back even if we get Yu Darvish, but I don’t want to give him ace money regardless of what happens with Darvish. The best-case scenario here would be to bring him back as our number 2 starter.

What I Would Be Willing To Give: 4 years, $65 million, $16.25 million per year
Will That Be Enough: Probably not, 5 years, $75 million has been rumored from some teams

4. Michael Cuddyer, MIN

Cuddyer would be a very good fit on a Rangers team that already has great hitting. Obviously, if the Rangers got Prince Fielder, which would be awesome, Cuddyer would not be considered by Texas. However, Michael plays first base and would definitely be an improvement over Moreland, and Cuddyer can also play right field if/when Nelson Cruz gets hurt. Michael made his first All-Star team this year, hitting .284 with 20 home runs and 70 RBIs. He is a very, very solid player that I would love to have. He is also known for being a great leader and is supposed to be great for a clubhouse.

What I Would Be Willing To Give: 3 years, $35 million, $11.67 million per year
Will That Be Enough: Probably, the highest offers rumored are 3 years, $30 million; only a home-town discount would make that offer not be enough

5. Ryan Madson, PHI

While the Rangers have a great closer in Neftali Feliz and a great replacement closer in Mike Adams if Feliz moves to the rotation, it would be good to get either a closer or an 8th-inning man in free agency so that Feliz can move to the rotation without the bullpen taking a major hit. And Madson fits that bill. He has been both a closer and a set-up man, but would almost surely be a closer if the Rangers were to sign him in free agency. Last year, Madson had 32 saves and a 2.37 ERA, and in 2010, as a set-up man, Madson had a 2.55 ERA. On top of regular season success, Ryan has pitched well in the postseason, with a 2.31 ERA in 35 career playoff innings on 33 appearances.

What I Would Be Willing To Give: 3 years, $25 million, $8.3 million per year
Will That Be Enough: Probably not; there are so many teams looking for closers this year, Madson will probably end up with around $10 million a year

6. Grady Sizemore, CLE

I know, he’s injury-prone, he hasn’t hit over .250 since 2008, and he strikes out way too much. But, still, on a one-year deal, Grady would be a great get, as long as you weren’t expecting the 2005-2008 form. What Grady still provides, when he is healthy, is unbelievable defense, very good speed on the basepaths, and some solid pop. And on a one-year deal, that allows him to play center next year, and then in 2013 Leonys Martin can take over, since he should be ready by then. Last year, Grady hit just .224, but he still had 10 home runs and 32 RBIs in only 71 games. Over a full season, those power numbers are about 25 homers and 80 RBIs. Those are very good power numbers to go along with his great defense.

What I Would Be Willing To Give: 1 year, $7.5 million
Will That Be Enough: Definitely, nobody will be willing to give him a multi-year deal, and the Indians just turned down a $9 million option, showing that they won’t go that high. And it doesn’t sound like anyone else will, either.

Come back next week for my free agent predictions.

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