Texas Rangers Dealing with Large Number of Free Agents: Fan Opinion

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It's the middle of the week and the Texas Rangers (just like every other team) have until Friday to negotiate exclusively with their free agents. After Friday it becomes open season for all and there's a possibility that the Rangers could lose up to ten players or more from last year's team once you factor in free agency and possible trades.

The list of free agents includes Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, Roy Oswalt, Ryan Dempster, Koji Uehara, Mike Adams, Scott Feldman, Yoshinori Tateyama and Mark Lowe. Texas will more than likely decline arbitration with catcher Geovany Soto making him a free agent eventually as well. Names to watch out out for on the trade rumor mill include Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, Derek Holland, Nelson Cruz, Martin Perez and Mike Olt. I'm not saying they will all be traded but one or two of them packaged together could net a nice return as the Rangers look to improve on the 2012 season.

The following, though, is a list of the free agents with possible destinations.

Josh Hamilton

Never before have I seen fans turn as quick on a player as they did this season with Josh Hamilton. His excuses for slumping became tiresome. Then he appeared to have a give-up attitude a la Major League's Pedro Serrano towards the end of the season as he would strike out and then smile as if it were nothing. The one thing you can't deny about him though is he does put up good numbers and will be very hard to replace. He is the most coveted free agent on the market and will command a ton of money, money that Texas won't pay. And I doubt very seriously he will go to the Brewers as Jon Heyman suggested. They don't have the money. If they did they would have kept Prince Fielder.

Likely destinations: Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins

Mike Napoli

He's a huge fan favorite with his bat and his swagger. He can definitely hit for power but not for average. This season showed fans what he really is and that is a catcher with pop in his bat but a mid-200 average. I don't think he'll ever repeat the season he had in 2011 but you can never tell. Texas has said they'll let him test the market but I'm fully sure they'll bring him back.

Likely destinations: Texas Rangers

Roy Oswalt

His performance and attitude really hampered in free agency. If he's smart he won't hold out again for a contender like he did this past season. He needs to go to spring training and actually compete for a starting spot. If his back continues to bother him then he should also consider retirement.

Likely destinations: unsure

Ryan Dempster

He pitched great for Texas when he wasn't facing a good offense. I don't think Texas will make him an offer and he'll probably head back to the National League where he is more comfortable.

Likely destinations: Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets

Koji Uehara

I hope the Rangers do everything in their power to bring him back. His energy combined with his effectiveness against both left and right handed hitters proved invaluable to the team. If Mike Adams leaves he would be the perfect set-up man for Joe Nathan.

Likely destinations: Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees

Mike Adams

He faltered towards the end of the season with neck problems and thoracic outlet syndrome. There is no denying, however, that he is one of the best set-up men in the game. He made a little over $4 million last season and will likely ask for at least $2 million more based on the deal that the Los Angeles Dodgers made with Brandon League on Tuesday. He's from Texas but lives in San Diego and has a love for that city. Rafael Soriano opted out of his contract with the Yankees which could make them players as well.

Likely destinations: Texas Rangers, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees

Scott Feldman

He was invaluable to the Rangers as a spot starter and long reliever. I don't think he has the stuff anymore to have a regular spot in a rotation but he does which is why he'll shop himself around. At one point he could have made a good number two starter. Now he's a four or five. I fully expect Texas to offer him a considerably lower contract then the one they just opted out of in order to keep him as a long reliever. However, if he does leave, they have Alexi Ogando who could assume that role.

Likely destinations: Texas Rangers, whoever wants to gamble?

Yoshinori Tateyama

Just as was the case with Scott Feldman, the Rangers declined their option on Tateyama. The side arm thrower can be effective at times but he has a penchant for giving up home runs. He would be more effective in a larger, pitcher friendly ballpark.

Likely destinations: unsure

Mark Lowe

Why waste any words on him? I can't imagine any fan out there hoping that Texas brings him back. He actually makes the Seattle Mariners the winner in the Justin Smoke/Blake Beavan for Cliff lee/Mark Lowe trade of 2010.

Likely destinations: Your guesses are as good as mine

So out of the nine free agents I only see two realistically returning (Uehara and Napoli). If Texas does decline arbitration with Geovany Soto then I believe he will be gone as well. Texas will seek to upgrade at catcher through a trade as the free agent market is weak this year.

Until next time, I'll see you in the cheap seats!

James Holland is a lifelong fan of baseball and his hometown Texas Rangers. He is also a senior columnist for shutdowninning.com, clawandantlernation.com and a member of SABR. You can also follow him on Twitter @SDIJamesHolland.

Sources:

http://mlb.com

http://texasrangers.com

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