Now that the dust has settled after the General Managers Meetings in Florida, we know a few more things about the Texas Rangers’ off season plans. Jon Daniels commented on a few things about the off season and the needs for his team.
One thing that has been mentioned several times is the need to improve the offense. The Texas Rangers have been in the mix with several top free agents. They were at one time in talks with the Los Angeles Dodgers about Matt Kemp, but those talks never managed to gain any traction. Also, another big name was Jacoby Ellsbury, but again, that probably won’t happen. But, they are still in the hunt to pick up a big name such as Brian McCann, Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Beltran, Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and even Mike Napoli.
It seems that Nelson Cruz is drawing interest from several clubs. At one point the Philadelphia Phillies were talking to him, but they were not willing to pay the 5 years $75 million he was seeking. The Phillies instead picked up Marlon Byrd at 2 years for $16 million. Also, the Oakland Athletics, New York Mets, Kansas City Royals and the Seattle Mariners are seriously inquiring about him. It seems at this point, Seattle is seeking to bring more offense to their club and are highly interested him Cruz and Beltran.
Beltran could be another good option for the Rangers, but he has had several injuries in the past, and might not be a long term outfielder, instead he might end up DHing.
One theme that seems constant, the Texas Rangers need a big bat, an outfielder and someone that is able to handle the ball. Shin-Soo Choo fits the bill for those needs, but with agent Scott Boras, he will have high salary demands. To know more about Choo, read my last article concerning the Rangers acquiring him.
Robinson Cano could be a signed by the Texas Rangers, but currently the New York Mets are meeting with his agent Jay-Z. There are talks his contract also could be in the $100 million range. More than likely, the Mets will drive up the price and he’ll be a New York Yankee again.
If the Texas Rangers are able to fill their outfield needs, they will need to address the infield. There is a log jam in the infield, but who’s on first? Mitch Moreland covered the duties for most of the 2013 season, but had an awful offensive year. The Jon Daniels and the Texas Rangers have a couple of choices with this. The could do something as radical as move Adrian Beltre to first, move Jurickson Profar to third and keep Elvis Andrus at short and Ian Kinsler at second base. Another option is to pick up Mike Napoli and place him at first. The cons about this are option is that Napoli struggled at the plate with the Boston Red Sox. In fact, Napoli broke the single season strike out record while playing for the Red Sox with 187 (Mark Bellhorn had 177 in 2004). But if you look how he did while he was with the Texas Rangers, it can be argued that he might find his swing again and do quite well with the Rangers. Napoli, while with the Texas Rangers, batted .275/.379/.552/.931. Those numbers are helped by the fact each time the Rangers played the Angels, Napoli tormented his old team.
Along with the offense, the Texas Rangers are keeping the door open for pitching. There have been talks about a possible trade with the Tampa Bay Rays left handed pitcher David Price. Getting Price would require them to give up a couple of top players, such as Jurickson Profar, or Joey Gallo. Jon Daniels was also at one point talking about bringing back Matt Garza or acquiring Masahio Tanaka, but it appears neither one of those will happen.
Lastly, what will the Texas Rangers do about the closer role? More than likely, Joe Nathan will be signing with someone else. It currently seems like Joe Nathan will be picked up by the Detroit Tigers. So what will the Texas Rangers do? Jon Daniels has pretty much said that the closer will come from within. Neftali Feliz, Tanner Sheppers and Joakim Soria are on the top of the list for him to fill that role. More than likely it could be Feliz, who had the role in 2010 and 2011. Feliz is currently playing in the Dominican Winter League and should get some time in that role. Also, it should be noted that Tanner Scheppers could also get the role. Joe Nathan spent some time with Scheppers trying to mold him for the role.
So what has this week told us? The Rangers need a power hitter, someone that can play the outfield, they need to fix the infield log jam, possibly pick up another starting pitcher (several injuries to the starters in 2013), and get a closer. That might sounds like a lot, but as long as Jon Daniels makes a few moves, the 2014 team should be in shape to be a 90 + win team again.
See all of the Rangers new additions come opening day by purchasing your 2014 Texas Rangers tickets here!