The following will come as a shock to no one: A team that has three vacancies in its starting rotation and no veterans in its bullpen is planning to concentrate its off-season efforts on pitching.

The Texas Rangers, the pitching-starved team in question, will look at some positions players as they tinker with their 2018 lineup, but they will be among the most active teams this winter in the pitching market.

No matter how slick general manager Jon Daniels believes he can talk teams into trades, he can’t build a competitive roster without wading into the deep end of free agency.

Free agents can begin to talk with all 30 clubs after the five-day window teams have to negotiate with their own free agents expires at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Heading the list of available pitchers is, despite what just happened to him in the World Series, former Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish. Really.

But is he topping the Rangers’ list of off-season targets? No. Fellow Japanese star Shohei Otani is, but Otani isn’t a free agent.

Here’s a look at five free-agent pitchers the Rangers could potentially chase this off-season.

1. Alex Cobb

The Rangers saw enough value in Cobb last off-season that they were linked to him via a trade with Tampa Bay, despite facing his first full season after Tommy John surgery. After a successful season, he hits the open market still coveted by the Rangers.

There will be value there, too. The right-hander just turned 30 and is coming off a season in which he made only $4.2 million. He will get a steep raise, but not steep enough to be out of the Rangers’ tighter budget range.

Cobb throws a sinker, which the Rangers like, has a funky delivery that can throw off hitters’ timing, and finished strong over the final two months. He figures to have better command — fewer walks and more strikeouts — going forward.
2. Lance Lynn

MLB Trade Rumors’ best guess is that this former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher ends up with the Rangers on a four-year, $56 million deal.

Lynn, like Cobb, is also coming off his first full season after Tommy John surgery and is also 30. Aside from the elbow reconstruction, Lynn has been a durable starter who eats innings.