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Texas Rangers rumors: Yoenis Cespedes unlikely for Rangers

Ken Rosenthal's latest notes column says the Rangers are unlikely to spend big for free agent Yoenis Cespedes

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Rangers rumors:  Yoenis Cespedes is someone the Rangers inquired about as a trade target in the past, but is someone the Rangers are "unlikely" to spend big on this offseason, according to Ken Rosenthal in his latest notes column.

With the Rangers looking for a righthanded power hitter for the middle of their lineup, there's been much speculation that the Rangers could end up signing Cespedes -- Dave Cameron predicted Cespedes to Texas for 7 years, $150 million -- but Rosenthal says the biggest priority is a veteran starter to replace Yovani Gallardo, and with big commitments already on the books, he identifies Mike Napoli as a more likely target.

The problem with pursuing Cespedes, Jason Heyward, Justin Upton or Alex Gordon -- the big-time free agent outfielders -- is that Texas is already locked in to $38M per season for the next five years with a pair of DH/COF types in Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo, and their top two position prospects are Joey Gallo and Nomar Mazara, who profile as CIF/COF types.  Realistically, from a financial and a roster management standpoint, the Rangers would need to move Choo or Prince if they were to add Cespedes or someone of that ilk -- that would mean paying someone to take Prince or Choo of their hands, and then likely, in a couple of years, being dissatisfied with the production you are getting for Cespedes for the cost involved, and being right back in this situation.

The Rangers' best chance at moving Choo or Prince would seem to be next offseason, when the free agent class is much weaker -- right now, the glut of talent on the free agent market means that teams that want to add offense have plenty of options to choose from.  The 2016-17 free agent class looks likely to be mediocre, at best, and Choo (at 4 years, $82M) or Prince (at 4 years, $72M) will likely look more appealing then than now.

With Nomar Mazara, Joey Gallo and Lewis Brinson seemingly positioned to be in the majors on Opening Day, 2017, passing on spending long-term on a bat and then moving one of the big contracts next offseason may be the best way to transition to your next generation of good, cheap young players.  And given what Cespedes seems likely to command as a free agent, that's probably better than signing Yoenis anyway.