Could Chris Carter be the next Texas Rangers first baseman?
The slugger could be a free agent after the Milwaukee Brewers declined to tender him a contract. His 41 homers in 2016 were tied for the most in the National League. He had 94 RBIs and a .821 on-base plus slugging percentage. The Brewers have 10 days to try to trade Carter, who signed a one-year deal for $2.5 million before the ‘16 season. He earned an additional half a million in performance bonuses based on plate appearances, according to the Associated Press.
Carter, who turns 30 on Dec. 18, only hit .222 and struck out 202 times, the second most in the league. He spent the previous three seasons with the Houston Astros averaging 30 homers and 80 RBIs.
The Brewers apparently didn’t think he was worth the $9 to $10 million he was due in 2017. For that kind of power, however, other clubs are likely to form a line at his door.
Mitch Moreland, 31, the Rangers first baseman for much of the past six seasons, is also a free agent but remains an option for the club. He is the superior defender over Carter. Moreland won his first Gold Glove in 2016. Moreland hit .233 with 22 homers and 60 RBIs in 2016.
The Rangers have kept a dialogue open with Moreland and would be open to his return. General manager Jon Daniels has said Ryan Rua or Jurickson Profar could be full-time options at first base in 2017. Another option, prospect Joey Gallo, barring a strong surge during spring training, is likely to start the season with Triple A Round Rock.
“The way we left it with Mitch and [free agent outfielder] Carlos [Gomez] is they’re both a good fit for us, at least one or the other,” Daniel said. “but until we address starting pitching and center field I don’t see us jumping in quick in those markets.”
Carter and Moreland have seven seasons in the majors. Here’s a look at their careers, with 162-game averages: