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Rangers, Brewers reportedly looking at Cain

Free-agent center fielder tied to Draft pick compensation
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- Lorenzo Cain, who is the top free-agent center fielder on the market, is drawing interest from two teams that appear to be set in the outfield.

According to multiple reports, the Rangers and Brewers are among the teams showing interest in Cain. Both teams are also looking to upgrade their pitching, and their level of desire for Cain depends on the evaluation of their outfield.

ARLINGTON -- Lorenzo Cain, who is the top free-agent center fielder on the market, is drawing interest from two teams that appear to be set in the outfield.

According to multiple reports, the Rangers and Brewers are among the teams showing interest in Cain. Both teams are also looking to upgrade their pitching, and their level of desire for Cain depends on the evaluation of their outfield.

The Rangers are looking at an outfield of Willie Calhoun in left, Delino DeShields in center and Nomar Mazara in right, with Shin-Soo Choo as the primary designated hitter. Drew Robinson, Ryan Rua and Rule 5 acquisition Carlos Tocci also remain in the mix.

The Brewers are set with Ryan Braun in left, Keon Broxton in center and Domingo Santana in right. They also have top prospects Brett Phillips and Lewis Brinson in their mix.

The Rangers have been focused on acquiring pitching this offseason, and general manager Jon Daniels said at the Winter Meetings the club is intent on giving young position players an opportunity this season. Calhoun and DeShields would appear to be at the top of the list.

But Cain, who broke into the Majors with the Brewers in 2010 and was an integral part of the Royals' two World Series teams in 2014-15, would be an upgrade for any outfield.

Video: High Heat: Brewers showing interest in Lorenzo Cain

Cain, 31, played in 155 games for the Royals last season and hit .300 with 86 runs scored, 15 home runs, 49 RBIs and 26 stolen bases. He had a .363 on-base percentage and a .440 slugging percentage.

Hot Stove Tracker

The Rangers' primary interest in Cain would appear to be his defense. They have said any position-player acquisitions would have to address their desire to upgrade defensively.

The Brewers, who selected Cain in the 17th round of the 2004 Draft before dealing him to Kansas City in the trade for Zack Greinke, might be considering a reunion to then use their outfield depth to trade for starting pitching. Santana, 25, would likely be the most attractive candidate after hitting .278 with 30 home runs, 85 RBIs and a .505 slugging percentage in 2017.

Cain is one of several appealing outfielders on the free-agent market. Also unsigned are J.D. Martinez, Jay Bruce and Jose Bautista among others, and their asking prices could potentially drop as Spring Training approaches.

Cain rejected the Royals' qualifying offer, which means he would cost the signing team a Draft pick.

The qualifying offer rules, explained

The Rangers would forfeit their second-highest pick, while the Brewers would lose their third highest. The Rangers would also lose $500,000 of international bonus pool money.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Milwaukee Brewers, Texas Rangers, Lorenzo Cain