Rangers’ co-owner would rather keep Josh Hamilton than sign Prince Fielder

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Now that Yu Darvish is officially in the fold as a member of the Texas Rangers, much of the attention will shift to whether the club should also sign Prince Fielder.

The Rangers will soon have plenty of money coming in thanks to their new television contract, but the reality is that they might not be able to afford both Fielder and Josh Hamilton for the long-term. The 30-year-old Hamilton is under contract for $13.75 million in 2012, after which he’ll become a free agent.

Rangers co-owner Bob Simpson has an opinion on the matter. And he isn’t afraid to share it. According to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com, Simpson said following Darvish’s press conference last night that he would rather re-sign Hamilton than make a run at Fielder.

“We’ve got guys, frankly, like Josh Hamilton that I would love to see re-signed. My personal preference, at this moment, would be to re-sign him instead of having Fielder. But we could all debate that. The organization has its feelings. Everybody dreams about having both. Sometimes you can’t have both at some level. If they came around to something we’d do, we’d look at him. But we don’t think it’s likely.”

“He’s been considered, but given our set of cards, too pricey,” Simpson said. “If that were to change, I guess they’d look at it harder. Right now he’s priced himself out of what we could do.”

Fielder vs. Hamilton is an interesting debate, one which generated plenty of discussion earlier this week. All things being equal, it’s a pretty easy call to go with Fielder. In addition to being the more consistent hitter, Fielder is three years younger and has played in at least 157 games in each of his six full seasons in the big leagues. Meanwhile, Hamilton has averaged 114 games played over the past three seasons. Having Fielder through his prime seasons — weight concerns and all — maximizes the chance of value rather than keeping an injury-prone Hamilton into his mid-30s.

Of course, Fielder is likely asking for a much longer contract than Hamilton will, so these situations aren’t exactly the same. But given the choice, he looks like the wiser investment.

Report: Orioles interested in Lance Lynn

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The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.

Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.

Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.