Window Shopping The 2016 Free Agent Class

I was just reading a Tim Dierkes article on MLB Trade Rumors about the top free agents in the Class of 2016, which includes a bunch of guys I would love the Rangers to go after. Here is the full list:

1. Justin Upton

2. Jason Heyward

3. David Price

4. Ian Desmond

5. Johnny Cueto

6. Jordan Zimmerman

7. Alex Gordon

8. Zack Greinke

9. Jeff Samardzija

10. Matt Wieters

Heyward would be my #1 choice, but I mean, you’re telling me I could have Price or Zimmerman or Gordon or Greinke or Wieters? Um, okay, I guess I’m down for that, too. 

It isn’t that Texas couldn’t afford to break the bank and sign one of those players, it would just be uncharacteristic and, given the compound problem the organization is dealing with financially, probably not even feasible. Yu Darvish is two years of good health away from being a $30 million per year pitcher, and there’s an excellent chance the Rangers don’t mess around again in free agency — or at least acquiring another high-priced asset — until Darvish’s future is resolved. I would also like to think the front office has learned something from the immediate returns on Elvis Andrus, Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo.

Those three guys alone will make over $51 million combined AAV through 2020, which includes Detroit’s $30 million for Texas taking Fielder off its hands. That is a problem.

This is a bit depressing, as a Texas Rangers fan, that the end of the Rangers Being Good era could be ending right in front of my eyes. Even worse, it could already be over and I’ve just been hanging on to something that isn’t even there.

I’ve chimed in fairly regularly this offseason to express my optimism for the 2015 season as it pertains to the Rangers, but I don’t know. They just don’t feel like a playoff team. At this point it would be a net-win if they got through a full year without any catastrophic injuries and finished in 3rd place in the West. It would be icing on the cake if they signed Yu to a longterm extension after the year.

Any postseason trip will be a bonus, and I’m comfortable with being pleasantly surprised. Okay guys? Now go win the fucking division one time for your boy.

No, but seriously, now that it’s 2015 I want to hit the fast-forward button and have it be 2016 already. For the Rangers… for life. I really just want to see Joey Gallo and Jorge Alfaro and Chi-Chi Gonzalez and Jake Thompson and Nomar Mazara in the big leagues.

That’s pretty much the deal. The Rangers don’t really have any money to spend, and when they do it’s only going to be to retain something they already have (in Darvish). This makes it critical for some of the prospects to pan out. Texas needs as many good, cheap players as it can find, upping the ante on young stars like Rougned Odor and Jurickson Profar to be stalwarts.

One thing I will never be is late to a party. This has been the offseason to pile on the Rangers, and while I’m not on that bandwagon quite yet, I am consciously beginning to doubt the direction of the franchise.

There are only two legitimate ways I see 2015 going, either (1) the Rangers are right up there competing in the AL West or (2) they’ll be out of it come trade deadline. Almost as fascinating as which end the pendulum inevitably swings is what will happen if the Rangers do indeed have to blow this thing up for real.

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