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Texas Rangers rumors: Chris Carter a Ranger target?

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Jon Heyman says the Rangers are pursuing free agent 1B/DH Chris Carter

MLB: New York Yankees at Kansas City Royals Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Rangers rumors: Chris Carter was released by the New York Yankees last week, and according to Jon Heyman, the free agent first baseman/DH is being pursuing by the Rangers, as well as the Oakland A’s.

This is a bit mystifying to me. Carter, 30, has big-time power, but doesn’t get on base. He led the National League in home runs in 2016 for the Milwaukee Brewers, who then non-tendered him. The Rangers reportedly had interest in Carter as a fallback plan if they couldn’t sign Mike Napoli this past offseason.

Instead, Carter went to New York to be the Yankees’ first baseman on a one year, $3.5 million deal. Carter didn’t work out for the Yankees, who cut him loose with him putting up a slash line of .201/.284/.370 in 208 plate appearances.

If the Rangers want to sign Carter to stash him in AAA as insurance, I could understand that, but if it is a major league deal, I’m not sure what the point would be. Carter is a righthanded hitting 1B/DH, and the Rangers have one of those in Mike Napoli. Theoretically, if they had Carter on the major league roster, the Rangers could have Carter at DH against lefties, with Napoli at 1B, but I’m not entirely sure that that is worth a roster spot, since you’d presumably be sending down either Delino DeShields, Joey Gallo or Drew Robinson, as well as keeping the current seven man bullpen.

The other possibility is that the Rangers anticipate trading Napoli, either now, or at the end of July if they fall out of the race, and want Carter to step into Napoli’s role. However, I have a hard time seeing the Rangers moving Napoli while they are professing to be in contention, nor do I believe Napoli would bring much in return if they were to move him right now.

Coincidentally, the Rangers were rumored to have a deal in place to send reliever Akinori Otsuka to the ChiSox for Carter back in 2007, when Carter was a power-hitting prospect in the low minors. However, Otsuka was injured and never ended up getting healthy, and so no deal happened.