The Texas Rangers appear ready to open their wallet this offseason and are interested in two of the top free agents.
Texas has been in touch with just about everyone on the open market, including prized right-hander Gerrit Cole and All-Star third baseman Anthony Rendon, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.
A starting pitcher and third baseman are among the Rangers' primary needs, and general manager Jon Daniels seems more open to looking at free agents than in seasons past.
"The last couple of years, we really haven’t explored it," Daniels said on Monday at the GM meetings in Arizona. "We didn’t feel it was the right time. This year, we are going to look at everything. Our goal is to get better, period. There are a couple of spots more (available) than others. We have signed (top free agents) before and at some point I have to suspect we will again."
Daniels has made it clear for several months that the Rangers will benefit from more flexibility with their payroll this offseason, which the team will need if it hopes to acquire a player of Cole or Rendon's caliber.
Cole could be asking for north of $300 million, and Rendon will also command a lot of money and term after a tremendous season for the Nationals that concluded with a World Series title.
"I think we're going to have a lot more flexibility the next two years than we've had the last couple, the last, probably three or four," Daniels said in June. "But it's going to be player-specific. We're not going to spend just to say we spent. If the right guy is there, we're ready to make that investment and then we'll go."
If the Rangers acquire Cole, they'd be adding one of the league's best pitchers.
In 2019, the 29-year-old went 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA while leading the majors with 326 strikeouts. The hard-throwing right-hander also tossed 212 1/3 regular-season innings and went unbeaten for more than four months.
If Daniels and the Rangers decide to go with Rendon instead, their money would still be wisely spent.
The 29-year-old is widely regarded as a premier third baseman. Rendon hit .319/.412/.598 last season with 34 home runs, 44 doubles, and 126 RBIs. He also finished as a Gold Glove finalist.