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Texas Rangers rumors: Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich on Rangers radar

Nick Cafardo says the Rangers are interested in center fielders Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain

MLB: Miami Marlins at Colorado Rockies Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Rangers rumors: Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich are both center fielders, both potentially available, and both players that the Texas Rangers have an interest in, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Cafardo’s notes column runs down a number of hot stove situations, and mentions the Rangers as one of the teams in on Cain, a free agent, as well as Yelich, who is under contract with the Miami Marlins.

The Rangers being involved on Yelich would seem to be a longshot, and likely represents the team checking in and seeing what the Marlins are looking for if the were to move Yelich. Though Miami has been selling off high-priced players as they slash payroll, the 26 year old Yelich is making just $7 million in 2018, and is under team control through 2022. The combination of youth, team control, a reasonable control and strong performance (Yelich has accumulated 16.3 bWAR over his four full seasons in the majors) means that the Marlins don’t have to trade Yelich now, and if they do move him now, they should command a great deal in return. For Texas, that would likely mean parting with Leody Taveras, as well as one or both of Cole Ragans and Hans Crouse, plus maybe Willie Calhoun and/or Ronald Guzman, at a very minimum. That seems like an unlikely price for the Rangers to pay.

As for Cain, we talked about him just a couple of days ago after reports indicated that the Rangers’ interest had accelerated. He’s a true center fielder, and unlike Yelich, would not cost young talent (other than the draft pick forfeited for signing him). On the other hand, he is in his early 30s, which means he’s likely to decline rather than maintain or get better, and he’s going to command free agent dollars. A few months ago the assumption was that that would be 5 years at $80 million or so, but with the tepid free agent market this offseason, Cain could be had for fewer years, in which case you would think the Rangers would potentially be players for him.

This continues the offseason theme of the Rangers looking at center field help — they’ve already nabbed Carlos Tocci, considered a plus defender in center field, in the Rule 5 draft, and have also been linked to free agent Carlos Gomez, as well as Cain and Yelich. It remains to be seen whether the Rangers will actually make a move for a starting position player the rest of the offseason, but if they do, center field appears to be what they are aiming to upgrade.