Donovan's list highlights was a weak free agent crop it is...he has them:
- Johnny Damon
- A.J. Burnett
- Rafael Furcal
- Paul Konerko
- Billy Wagner
- Brian Giles
- B.J. Ryan
- Tom Gordon
- Kenny Rogers
- Jeff Weaver
Damon I'd pass on -- too expensive, too old, not that good. Konerko is not an option, given Teixeira's presence. Kenny Rogers, of course, isn't coming back, and Jeff Weaver is a flyball pitcher with a purportedly fragile psyche who, as a Boras client, is going to be looking for a lot of money.
Really, though, I wouldn't be shocked if Weaver ends up in Texas. If it happens, though, it will be like when Darren Oliver signed with Texas...late in the free agency period, most of the other options are gone, and management (or ownership) panics over rotation holes and overpays to get Weaver here.
I would be shocked if A.J. Burnett comes here. He's looking at Chan Ho money -- 4-5 years, $13 million per year, minimum -- and, like Chan Ho Park, he never established himself as a true #1 starter before hitting the free agent market. If you spend $13 million per year on Burnett, you are betting that 1) he finally pitches up to his potential, rather than pitching at the level he has pitched over his career, and 2) despite a significant injury history and numerous high-pitch outings, he'll stay healthy. I don't think that's a good bet.
I like Furcal, and would be really intrigued about going after him, but the Rangers seem dead-set on keeping Michael Young at shortstop, and Furcal seems unlikely to sign here to be a second baseman.
Billy Wagner is a real interesting possibility, a guy whose name hasn't really come up before in connection with Texas, but who seems like a legitimate fit. Other than in 2000, when he struggled with injuries, he's been a legitimately outstanding reliever his entire career. He's a lefty who throws hard, which the Rangers would like in a reliever, and he's played most of his career in the state of Texas.
The problem is price and age...he's 34, and it will probably take three years at $27-30 million to lock him up. That's an awful lot of money for a reliever, particularly if the Rangers want to keep their payroll around the $55 million mark.
However...the Rangers have said repeatedly that upgrading the pen is their primary goal this offseason, particularly since the cupboard is pretty bare as far as starting pitchers go on the free agent market. Spending the money on Wagner instead would allow Francisco Cordero to take over the role of setup man, giving the Rangers a possibly devastating 1-2 combo out of the pen, particularly if they can contrast those flamethrowers with sidearmers like Shouse, Feldman or Littleton. It is a really enticing scenario...if the payroll budget can support Wagner.
Ryan is Wagner, just younger and with less of a track record. I think you are looking at a similar amount of money for either of them.
Tom Gordon...eh. Old reliever with a big name. A Yankee. Probably will be overpaid.