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Texas Rangers rumors: Shohei Ohtani and Miles Mikolas as possible targets

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While Shohei Ohtani is the most prominent JPL pitcher potentially on the market, Miles Mikolas could be an option as well

Tampa Bay Rays v Texas Rangers Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images

Texas Rangers rumors: Shohei Ohtani is the pitcher from Japan that the Texas Rangers have been linked to in rumors most often, but another Japanese League pitcher, Miles Mikolas, could also be on their radar.

Jon Heyman says that teams think Ohtani, who is an accomplished hitter as well as a tremendous pitcher, would be a better fit in the American League, where he could DH some as well as pitch. Heyman says the Rangers, the Yankees, and the Red Sox are viewed as the favorites if Ohtani does decide he prefers the A.L., and the Rangers’ public pronouncements that they intend to win in 2018 and are not in rebuilding mode are, I suspect, influenced at least in part by a desire to be an attractive option for Ohtani. Announcing you were rebuilding and not expecting to contend for a couple of years is likely going to make it much harder to convince Ohtani to sign with you.

While Ohtani will be the most coveted free agent on the market, should he opt to come to the United States for the 2018 season, there’s another under-the-radar pitcher in the Japanese League who the Rangers would likely have interest in — righthander Miles Mikolas. MLB Trade Rumors reports that Mikolas, who is a free agent after finishing a two year, $5 million deal with the Yomiuri Giants.

Mikolas was acquired by the Rangers in December, 2013, for first baseman Chris McGuiness, and the Rangers converting him from relief to starting. Mikolas started 10 games for the Rangers in that forgettable 2014 season, then was sold to Japan after the season, where he has spent the last three years with the Giants. During that stretch, Mikolas put up a 2.18 ERA, with 378 Ks against 39 walks in 424.2 IP.

As MLB Trade Rumors points out, not only does this front office have a history with Mikolas, they also signed gaijin pitchers Colby Lewis and Tony Barnette from Japan after each resuscitated their respective careers in the JPL. Texas has been one of the most aggressive teams in scouting Japan, and give the need for multiple additions to the rotation, Mikolas could be a good fit with the Rangers, and potentially give them a reliable back-end starter.

So Rangers fans should keep an eye on both of these pitchers...while Ohtani is a stud and would be a legitimate #1 starter for Texas, Mikolas could be an under-the-radar option to help round out the rotation.