MLB Rumors: Free agent predictions by R.J. Anderson are up at CBS Sports, and he, at least, thinks the Texas Rangers will be active and aggressive this offseason. Anderson takes a stab at where the top twenty free agents will land this offseason, and he has three of them going to Texas.
The three names are all guys who make sense, as well, having been identified previously as players the Rangers are expected to pursue aggressively — shortstop Trevor Story, pitcher Clayton Kershaw, and outfielder Seiya Suzuki. The Rangers are expected to prioritize the shortstop class, and while Story isn’t in the same tier as Carlos Correa or Corey Seager, he’s a very good player who I would love to see in Texas on a five year deal for the sort of low-$20M AAV that had been bandied about. Suzuki has a lot of uncertainty surrounding him, with there being questions as to how he would handle the increased velocity here in the U.S. compared to what he has faced in Japan, but offers a righthanded power bat who would immediately step into the starting right field job.
Speaking of uncertainty, what Clayton Kershaw will be able to provide the Rangers or Dodgers — the only two teams seen as likely to sign the veteran starter — is a mystery. Having dealt with back issues the last few years, and having an elbow issue keep him out of the playoffs in 2022, Kershaw’s health makes him a significant risk going forward. Nonetheless, the Rangers seem to feel having the future Hall of Famer in the clubhouse would be a boost for the teams young pitchers, as well as help energize the fan base, and appear willing to offer a significant contract in an effort to lure him home.
If those are the biggest fish the Rangers land this winter, that would constitute a pretty solid offseason, one consistent with the team’s stated goal of showing significant improvement in 2022 and with the stated willingness to spend money. There would presumably be other moves — the rotation, in particular, still would need to have a couple of additional arms — but landing Story, Suzuki and Kershaw would go a long way towards making for a successful winter.