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Potential Target: James Shields



    Potential Target: James Shields
    Getty Images
    KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 27: James Shields #33 of the Kansas City Royals throws in the first inning during an interleague game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Kauffman Stadium on May 27, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

    In an ongoing series, we'll take a look at possible free-agent and trade targets for the Texas Rangers this winter.

    Target: James Shields, RHP

    2014 stats: 14-8 record, 3.21 ERA, 227 innings, 180 strikeouts, 40 walks

    Big Game James has shown why he got that nickname so far this postseason, helping the Royals to a 4-0 record so far in the playoffs, and he'll take the mound to open up the ALCS against Baltimore on Friday. But his days as a Royal could be numbered as the soon-to-be 33-year-old will hit free agency this winter after completing a seven-year contract split between Tampa Bay and Kansas City.

    Of the three big-name starting pitchers on the market this winter, along with Jon Lester and Max Scherzer, Shields is the one who you could actually see the Rangers making a legitimate run at via free agency.

    His age means he's less likely to get to the six- or seven-year deal the Rangers basically refuse to give starting pitchers. He could possibly be had on a four- or five-year deal with a possible option year. He's also not quite the same caliber as Lester or Scherzer, but he's right below that level and he's a known innings-eater, eclipsing the 200-inning mark in each of the last eight seasons.