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With Zach Greinke and James Shields off the board, a look at the most pressing questions currently facing the Rangers.
There's the million dollar question. For the better part of a week, it seems like the Rangers have been focused on someway, somehow swinging a trade for Justin Upton... but the Diamondbacks want a shortstop -- and the Rangers won't, and shouldn't part with Elvis Andrus to get him.
I suspect Texas will continue pursuing Upton, while keeping the phone lines open with Josh Hamilton. With Greinke now with the Dodgers, the Rangers do have some money to toss around, and it won't shock me if the Rangers make a move to re-sign the 2010 AL MVP.
Why exactly are the Diamondbacks so eager to deal a 25-year old All-Star with a reasonable contract?
From my perspective, it doesn't make a ton of sense, unless Arizona absolutely kills it on the return, but I just don't see that happening. From the little bits of rumors that were floating around last week, it seems like the Indians would have come out best in the proposed three or four-team deals.
Without being in the Arizona front office, I'd have to guess that the D'Backs staff is seriously concerned about either 1. Upton's health or 2. Upton's work ethic or 3. both. Players like him just don't come around often though, and the Rangers should absolutely pounce if they have a chance to acquire him.
Which of the available starters make the most sense for Texas?
With Yu Darvish, Alexi Ogando, Matt Harrison and Derek Holland slated in the first four spots of the rotation, I don't think that there's a huge need for Texas to add a starter. Greinke would have been ideal, but that's also one of the top five right handed pitchers in baseball.
At this point, I'd say that R.A. Dickey makes the most sense. I wouldn't be willing to overpay for him, but he appears to have reasonable extension demands -- he's only asking for an additional two years, and around $25-30 million dollars. It's tough to project how the knuckleballer will age and pitch in Texas, but I'd sure rather find that out than overpay for Anibal Sanchez.
Yes, absolutely. Tampa Bay must be laughing all the way to the bank with this trade. Kansas City surrendered Wil Myers, one of the top prospects in all of baseball, and Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard in order to acquire Shields.
If the Rangers were to make a similar offer, it would include Jurickson Profar and others. It simply wasn't worth it.
What's the best-case scenario for the Rangers over the next month?
Dealing Michael Young was huge, and definitely part of any best-case. At this point, I'd say trading for Upton and re-signing Hamilton would be best case. I don't really think the Rangers need another starting pitcher at this point, and Texas does need to replace the offense that departed when Mike Napoli signed with Boston.
Hamilton might have quit on the team last year, but he's still a huge bat, and if the Rangers can sign him for four years, while adding Upton, then they'll boast an elite offense again.
What's the worst-case scenario?
Texas whiffs on Upton, while Hamilton spurns Texas to take five or six years from the Mariners. Though it wouldn't be the end of the world if Hamilton left, it would certainly sting to lose him and Napoli, while failing to add a major bat to replace either.
Overpaying for one of the remaining free agent starting pitchers would also be a major mistake.
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