In an ongoing series, we'll take a look at possible free-agent and trade targets for the Texas Rangers this winter.
Target: Max Scherzer, RHP
2014 stats: 18-5 record, 3.15 ERA, 220 1/3 innings pitched, 252 strikeouts, 63 walks
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Much like with the case of Jon Lester, the Rangers are unlikely to get into the market for a pitcher who they have to give a six-year deal to and fork over $20 million a year to. It's just not in line with what the Rangers' expected payroll will be, even with that TV contract money coming in.
But like Lester, if the Rangers decided to make a big splash and go after Scherzer, it would automatically thrust the Rangers to near the top of the league in terms of starting rotation. Then again, we saw what that did for the Scherzer's team, the Tigers, and the Oakland A's after their arms race around the trade deadline this summer.
Scherzer has been a machine the past two seasons and has an AL Cy Young Award to show for it after he edged out his would-be teammate Yu Darvish last season after leading baseball with 21 wins. He did that once again in 2014 with 18 wins, and say what you will about the win stat for starting pitchers, but Scherzer is more than just a W total.