Slugger Chris Carter is still available on the free agent market, but may not be for long. Carter led the National League in home runs in 2016 and could be a good fit with the Texas Rangers in 2017.
Both home run leaders from each league are still available in free agency right now. Chris Carter hit 41 homers with the Milwaukee Brewers last season. Mark Trumbo led the American League in homers with 47 last season on the Baltimore Orioles. The Rangers have considered signing both, but why is Carter a better option for them?
Carter did set many career highs for himself in 2016. Leading the NL in games played (160), home runs (41) and strikeouts (206). Those 206 strikeouts are likely part of the reason Carter has been unable to finalize a deal with a team this off-season. The power is legitimate though and Carter could continue hitting 40 plus homers if he signs with Texas.
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Mark Trumbo seems like a better option because he will strikeout less. Although Trumbo will also cost more than Carter. As Trumbo went into the off-season reportedly asking for a contract around $80 million dollars. Carter signed last season for 2.5 million and is projected to make less than $10 million a year this off-season.
Carter only hit six less homers and would save the Rangers double if not triple the salary. The Rangers need a player like Carter that can play solid first base and hit for power. The strikeouts are going to be a problem, but Carter did walk a career high 76 times last season.
This could be a cheap deal for the Rangers that saves them money and solves their problems with lack of power. Signing Trumbo, Mike Napoli, or even Jose Bautista would not only cost the Rangers more money, but also a draft pick. All three named players were given qualifying offers by their former teams that were declined by the players. That attaches a draft pick to the player meaning whichever teams signs them loses a first round pick in the draft.
Carter does not have the qualifying offer attached because he was non-tendered by the Brewers. A cheaper option with no draft pick attached and similar power numbers. The Rangers can likely sign Carter to a short-term deal and he could be their power solution for 2017.