MLB Free Agent Rumors: The Texas Rangers have interest in Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb, two prominent free agent pitchers, even after reportedly agreeing to a deal with free agent pitcher Doug Fister, according to Jon Morosi on Twitter.
Which, really, if you think about it, makes sense...Fister has basically been a replacement level pitcher the past three years, and is getting just $3.5 million guaranteed for the 2018 season (or $4 million, if you include the $500K buyout of the 2019 team option he reportedly has). Fister is a guy you pick up when you have three spots to fill in the rotation and you don’t want to trade your top prospects...he’s a cheap option you can slot into the mix at the back of the rotation who doesn’t keep you from going after potential impact pitchers.
Lynn and Cobb are both 30, are both coming off their first full season post-Tommy John surgery, and both received (and rejected) qualifying offers, meaning that signing either pitcher would cost the Rangers their second round draft pick under the new free agent compensation rules. They are exactly the type of pitchers the Rangers are going to be interested in so long as they have holes in the rotation...one could argue, in fact, that the Rangers would be more interested in a Lynn or a Cobb after signing Fister, since he fills a hole for cheap, allowing Texas the flexibility to go after one or both of those guys at their expected costs.
Of course, the extent of the Rangers’ true interest in Cobb and Lynn is largely dependent on what the ultimate price will be to sign them. The expectation seems to be that they’ll end up somewhere around 5 years, $75 million, which is probably on the outer edge of what Texas would be comfortable with. I’m sure the Rangers would snatch either pitcher up right now at, say, 3 years, $48 million, but the extra years for pitchers with an injury history who are already 30 is what makes it potentially problematic.
But expect the Rangers to be linked to this pair until each is signed by some team. Even if the Rangers were to pull off the Hail Mary and land Shohei Ohtani, Cobb or Lynn would make sense to round out the rotation, and if they don’t get Ohtani, or Jake Arrieta, or Yu Darvish, then you could make an argument for signing both pitchers, giving you a rotation of Cole Hamels, Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn, Martin Perez and Doug Fister, and with $10-12 million left over to spend on relief help or someone like Jarrod Dyson.