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Rangers may turn to familiar faces in FA market

@Sullivan_Ranger
November 8, 2019

The Rangers are searching for starting pitchers this winter and there are plenty of candidates on what appears to be a deep free agent market. Texas is familiar with some of them. Here are 12 free agent starters available who once pitched either for the Rangers or in their Minor

The Rangers are searching for starting pitchers this winter and there are plenty of candidates on what appears to be a deep free agent market.

Texas is familiar with some of them. Here are 12 free agent starters available who once pitched either for the Rangers or in their Minor League system. The Rangers have shown an affinity in the past for signing former players. The chances of a reunion this year? No. 1 on the list would be the most intriguing.

Cole Hamels, LHP

There were no hard feelings when the Rangers traded Hamels to the Cubs in 2018. On the contrary, Hamels expressed to the Rangers how much he enjoyed playing in Texas and wouldn’t rule out a future reunion. He's also not looking for a hefty long-term deal. But, he did tell MLB.com this week that his primary goal is to “have as many opportunities to get to the postseason and try to win.” A reunion with the Rangers would likely depend on how Hamels perceives the chances of winning in Texas against other interested teams.

Andrew Cashner, RHP

Cashner is a guy who could fill out the back end of a rotation and hold down a spot until one of their prospects is ready. He pitched well for the Rangers in 2017, but the team may prefer to take a chance on bounce-back candidate with higher upside like Michael Wacha or Alex Wood.

Tanner Roark, RHP

Roark is the one who got away back in 2010. Same story on him as Cashner. He's a reliable arm, who could fill a rotation spot until a pitcher who is younger and better comes along. But -- with other additions -- he still has a chance to be a part of a winning rotation. The Athletics acquired him from the Reds at the July 31 Trade Deadline in an effort to boost their rotation and he was 4-3 with a 4.58 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 10 starts.

Josh Lindblom, RHP

Lindblom is an intriguing name on the market this winter. Just like Colby Lewis and Miles Mikolas, he may be reviving his chances to pitch in the Major Leagues again by pitching well abroad. Lindblom, 32, was the top pitcher in the Korea Baseball Organization the past two seasons after reinventing himself on the mound. The only caveat -- the Korean league is at least a step below Japan as far as level of competition. Lindblom was one of two pitchers acquired by the Rangers from the Phillies for Michael Young seven years ago.

Martin Pérez , LHP

Pérez was 8-3 with a 4.26 ERA in 18 games for the Twins before the All-Star break and 2-4 with a 6.27 ERA after. He did not pitch in the postseason. The Rangers have a number of young left-handers – Brock Burke, Joe Palumbo, Kolby Allard – who they would prefer to look at rather than trying a reunion with Pérez.

Jerad Eickhoff, RHP

Eickhoff was one of six players traded to the Phillies in 2015 for Hamels. He had a couple of good years for the Phillies before being brought down by injuries. He became a free agent by refusing a Minor League assignment from the Phillies. He’ll show up in somebody’s camp on a Minor League contract as a reclamation project and fifth-starter candidate.

Derek Holland, LHP

If Holland could pull off a comeback with the Rangers, it would be a great story. The problem is Holland’s return might end up being a bigger distraction, because of his popularity in Texas and less of a feel-good story if he doesn’t pitch well.

Drew Smyly, LHP

Smyly was 3-2 with a 1.32 WHIP and a 4.45 ERA in 12 starts for the Phillies after being cut loose by the Rangers on June 25. A return to the Rangers is highly unlikely.

Shelby Miller, RHP

Unlike Smyly, Miller did not get a Major League job after being released by the Rangers last season. He just turned 29 and was throwing 94 mph, so a team will probably give him a Minor League deal. Probably not the Rangers.

Matt Moore, LHP

Moore was a disaster for the Rangers in 2018, going 3-8 with a 6.79 ERA. He then signed with the Tigers and pitched 10 scoreless innings over two starts in '19 before going down for the season due to surgery on his right knee. Somebody should take a chance and give him a make-good contract.

Tyson Ross, RHP

Ross, 32, began last season in the Tigers' rotation and was 1-5 with a 6.11 ERA in seven starts before missing the rest of the season because of ulnar neuritis in his right elbow. Ross is also a Minor League contract candidate -- the kind that gets a chance with clubs not looking to win immediately.

Ross Detwiler, LHP

He resurfaced for 12 starts and six relief appearances for the White Sox last season, going 3-5 with a 6.59 ERA. His best start was against the Rangers on Aug. 22, allowing one run in six innings. It's doubtful that will rekindle any warm feelings the Rangers once had for Detwiler.

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.