Edit- This was posted on the boards a day before Wily Taveras signed with the Reds-
Here we go, I'll take the Texas Rangers, and hope that something good will happen.
First things first, the Rangers need some pitching help, and they play in a ball park that isn't kind to pitchers, so my two primary targets, Free Agents, Derek Lowe and Ben Sheets, offering them each 3 year $42 million contracts which would pay them 14 million annually. Likely less then they are seeking but they would be incentive laden (200 IP, $150,000, All Star, $50,000 etc etc), and include a $5 million signing bonus. Signing those two arms would show a commitment to winning, and a legit chance to make a run at the division title.
Knowing that the Rangers haven't been a legit contender for a number of seasons now, it can't hurt to take a few low risk high reward signings. Sign oft-injured starting pitchers Mark Prior and Randy Wolf to incentive laden minor league contracts, that could total up to $3 million based on inning pitched, starts and days in the major (similar to the contract Chris Capuano received from the Brewers).
Secondly, given the Rangers great offense and friendly home confines, I'd spend even more money, this time locking up Adam Dunn for 5 years at $80 million (16 per), also with a $5 million signing bonus, couple the power provided by Dunn's bat, and the newest signing ( by me of course) or speedster CF Wily Taveras to a 3 year, $7 million deal, and the offense has the perfect mix of power and speed.
The roster would look roughly like this.
1- Ian Kinsler - 2b
2- Micheal Young - SS
3- Josh Hamilton - RF
4- Adam Dunn - LF
5- Chris Davis - 1b
6- Nelson Cruz - CF
7- Hank Blalock - 3b
8- Taylor Teagarden - C
9- Wily Taveras / David Murphy - DH
You'll notice a noteworthy name missing, catcher/1b Jarrod Saltalamacchia. I'd hand over the catcher reins to Teagarden and Max Ramirez, and look to move Salty to the Red Sox for another highly touted prospect in pitcher Clay Buchholz.
With the two SP signings, and the Salty for Buccholz trade the pitching staff improves 110%.
1- Ben Sheets
2- Derek Lowe
3- Vincente Padilla
4- Clay Buchholz
5- Matt Harrison/ Kevin Millwood/ Randy Wolf/ Mark Prior
The bullpen is still an issue with no clear candidate for the closer role. This is were the never ending pockets of owner Tom Hicks come into play.
New closer, and even newer free agent signing, closer Brian Fuentes to a 4 year, $28 million dollar deal ($7 million annually).
Leaving Frank Francisco as the primary set up man, and CJ Wilson, Joaquin Benoit, Eric Hurley, Scott Feldson, Luis Mendoza, Mark Prior, Randy Wolf and Dustin Tippert to compete for roles in the bull pen.
Adding a total of roughly $61.33 million in guaranteed contracts ($15 million in signing bonuses) would demonstrate to the fans and the rest of the division, that the Rangers are ready and more then willing to play ball.