Texas Rangers rumors: Chris Carter, who led the National League in home runs last season, was a mildly surprising non-tender by the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this offseason. A free agent, Jon Morosi says that the Texas Rangers and the Baltimore Orioles have both shown interest in him.
Not surprising, of course, given that the Rangers have a hole in their everyday lineup (two holes, if you don’t think that the Ryan Rua/Jurickson Profar platoon at 1B is a real thing). Carter isn’t anything great -- there’s a reason why he was non-tendered in favor of Eric Thames, and why no one traded for him, despite the fact that he was expected to make just $8-10 million in arbitration this year. He’s a 1B/DH type who is sub-par defensively at 1B, and strike outs so much that, even with a bunch of walks, his OBP isn’t generally going to be at a level you’d want to see from a 1B/DH.
That said, he also provides the Rangers with an option that would give them some flexibility -- he could play some 1B, allowing Shin-Soo Choo to be at DH and Ryan Rua in or Jurickson Profar in left field, he could be a primary DH, with Choo in the outfield, or he could be a bench or platoon bat if Texas lands a legit guy to fill that final spot in their starting lineup.
Morosi says no deal is close, and I suspect the Rangers won’t commit significant dollars to a player with Carter’s profile while Mike Napoli and Edwin Encarnacion are on the board. My guess is that the Rangers would still like to end up with one of that pair to either handle first base or DH, and are waiting to see where the market settles for those two before locking themselves into another player. Either Napoli or Encarnacion — or both -- could (and likely will) end up getting deals that are more than Texas thinks they are worth, but will little action on them right now, there’s no reason for Texas to box themselves in with a lesser player at this time.
And yes, it is a boring offseason where one tweet about Chris Carter is enough to generate a full-blown rumor post. I’m ready for spring training to start.