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Rangers, Rays in on Chris Carter

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One of the best hitters left in the free-agent pool could strike a deal soon.

Milwaukee Brewers v Seattle Mariners Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

The Rangers have a backup plan if they can’t strike a deal with Mike Napoli and his name is Chris Carter. But they’ll have some competition. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, both the Rays and Rangers are pursuing the slugger.

It’s a little mind-boggling that no one as yet to snag Carter. As our very own Mike Bates points out, he’s like 90 percent of Mark Trumbo’s productivity at 30 percent of the cost. The 30-year old hit a decent .222/.321/.499 last year for the Brewers and co-led the National League in home runs with 41. His strikeout rate is troubling, chalking up a “K” 206 times in 2016, the second highest number of strikeouts in his career. He also recorded 76 walks, showing that while he’s eager to hit, he still maintains patience in the batter’s box, something a lot of these free-agent sluggers lack.

Where Carter shows an extensive weakness is on the defensive end. With his age also being a factor, it’s smart for whatever team picks him up to convert him from a first baseman/left fielder to designated hitter. His speed on the bases isn’t anything to shake a stick at. The California native was ranked in the bottom 20 baserunners in the league last season, according to FanGraphs.

The Marlins have also been previously mentioned to be interested in Carter, but are a little short on funds. Regardless of what uniform he wears next season, it’s predicted that he’ll receive a one-year contract in the $5M range.

The Rays have just traded off Logan Forsythe in exchange for Jose De Leon, a young pitcher who just made his debut with the Dodgers last year. This means they’re down a bat, and a consistent one at that. A short-term deal with Carter, even with his tendency to strikeout, would be a low-risk/high-reward solution to Forsythe’s absence.