The S-T's T.R. Sullivan has had some updates the past few days on the Rangers, reporting that the Rangers have had trade talks about Miguel Batista, Adam Eaton, and Barry Zito, that two year contract offers have been made to both Matt Morris and Paul Byrd, and have sniffed around on Jason Johnson, Brian Moehler, Byung-yun Kim, and Juan Pierre (who would be a possible trade target.
Of that group, Zito is going to cost too much to be worth pursuing, Eaton isn't good enough to give up much of value for, and Matt Morris doesn't seem too interested in coming to Texas. The two guys from that group I'd probably target are Miguel Batista -- a versatile righty who could start or relieve, and whom the Blue Jays are seemingly eager to move -- and Paul Byrd, a guy who is something of a righthanded Kenny Rogers, a smart pitcher who can hold down a rotation slot and should be able to adjust to pitching in TBIA.
Jason Johnson is also someone who I'd look at...I'm not going to advocate spending big money on him, but he's one of those guys you can plug in the back of the rotation and know he'll probably give you 32 starts and not kill you, which, at this point, has some value.
The more mystifying news, though, is today's report on Kyle Farnsworth. Kathleen O'Brien's article says:
The Rangers have made right-handed reliever Kyle Farnsworth an offer that a club source said is competitive with any of the offers made by other teams.
The New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves are also pursuing Farnsworth, and the Yankees have reportedly offered him a three-year contract worth close to $16 million to $17 million.
The Rangers would not comment Wednesday on the amount of their offer to Farnsworth, but said they thought it comparable to other offers. They expect a decision from Farnsworth fairly soon, perhaps before next week's winter meetings.
I don't like that at all. Farnsworth is a flyball pitcher with control problems, who has been incredibly inconsistent before putting up a great season last year. Almost $6 million per year for a very good reliever is a hell of a lot of money...but almost $6 million per year for a 29 year old reliever coming off his only really good season, and who has posted ERAs of 6.43 and 7.33 in the past few years, is mind-boggling. Farnsworth posted an ERA of almost 5.00 while pitching with the Cubs in 2004, in a season where he gave up 10 homers in just 66 innings.
I really don't like the idea of paying big for Farnsworth. He is a big strikeout guy, the type of power arm that John Hart always liked to get for the bullpen. But he's also a high-walk, high-HR guy, as well. Maybe the organization thinks Farnsworth legitimately turned a corner last year, that he's become a dominant reliever rather than the headcase he'd always been before.
But betting $17 million over three years on a reliever with a career ERA+ of 99 seems like a pretty questionable gamble, to me...