In an ongoing series, we'll take a look at possible free-agent and trade targets for the Texas Rangers this winter.
Target: Jon Lester, LHP
2014 stats: 16-11, 2.46 ERA, 219 2/3 innings, 220 strikeouts, 48 walks
Lester was supposed to put the Oakland A's over the top and send them cruising into the World Series. Instead, the A's suffered a near-historic collapse over the final month and a half of the season and ended up losing in the AL Wild Card Game to the red-hot Royals. Lester wasn't really at fault for the collapse, though. With Oakland, he went 6-4 with a 2.35 ERA, living up to his billing as one of the top aces in the game.
Perhaps the best thing about Lester is his postseason dominance. In 12 postseason starts (all with Boston), he is 6-4 with a 2.57 ERA. In the 2013 World Series, he pitched the Red Sox to the title with two wins, allowing on run over 15 1/3 innings. He would give the Rangers a No. 1a behind Yu Darvish, with "behind" being a very loose term. But the money is most likely going to be out of the Rangers' pay grade as he's expected to get a six- or seven-year deal well into the nine-figure range. Ultimately, that's going to be more than the Rangers will want to spend. But man, would it be nice.