In an ongoing series, we'll take a look at possible free-agent and trade targets for the Texas Rangers this summer.
Target:Jonathan Papelbon, RHP
2015 stats: 1-1, 1.65 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 32 2/3 innings, 14 saves, 34 strikeouts, 7 walks, 9.4 K/9 innings
Like they could with Aroldis Chapman, the Rangers could make a big splash with a big name here by acquiring Papelbon, an all-star caliber closer who's been one of the best in the business for a while now and desperately wants out of Philadelphia.
At this point, it seems like a certainty he's going to be dealt. The question is to whom and how much money the Phillies are willing to eat up of the remaining of the $13 million on his salary for 2015 and a vesting option in 2016 that will be another $13 million.
Dropping big money on a reliever isn't something the Rangers have a track record of doing, and it's not a real sound strategy, but if the Phillies would be willing to eat enough of that money, they could possibly make something come together. His 1.65 ERA this year is the second-lowest of his 11-year career, and he's pitching well. He only has 14 saves, but he plays for the worst team in baseball and has had limited chances to close out games.