Texas Rangers Still Need a Right Handed DH
By Ben Dieter
Sep 16, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Texas Rangers designated hitter Lance Berkman (27) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mitch Moreland is the primary designated hitter for the Texas Rangers going forward, but I think that they could use a power hitting right-handed bat to compliment Mitch. There is no one on the Texas Rangers roster right now that I think could fill that role, I think it will have to be a veteran from the outside, someone who is a little older and would not be opposed to only getting 200-250 at bats for a season but can still be productive while warming the bench the majority of the time. It would also have to be someone who could get a lot more at bats if Mitch were to go down to another injury.
So who is out there? Who could the Texas Rangers convince to be this guy? Well we all know who I am going to say is the number one choice at this point, seeing that he is still out there and he is a power right-handed bat: Nelson Cruz. I am just not sure that Cruz wants to be that guy coming off the bench after all those years of being a starting right fielder, but we all know that his speed and defensive skills (except for his arm, he still has a great arm) have diminished over the past few seasons. Nelson would have to swallow some pride and accept a bench type role if he is to come back to the Texas Rangers, and I am not sure that he will be able to do that. It seems the Mariners are still somewhat interested and the Orioles have also shown some interest (read the David Cash piece here), but there is a reason he is not signed yet. One of those reasons is that teams are afraid to give up their number one draft pick for a guy that may be declining, and number two is that he was suspended for performance enhancing drugs last season.
So if not Nelly, then who else? Kendrys Morales is still out there, and he is a switch hitter. That could be very helpful if Mitch were to go down to some sort of injury. Last season for Seattle, Kendrys had a line of .277/.336/.449/.785 with 23 home runs and 80 RBI in 156 games. In every season that he has played over 100 games, he has hit more than 20 home runs. Kendrys is an interesting case, and the more I think about him, the more I think he would be a good addition to the Texas Rangers lineup, again, if the 30-year-old would be willing to take a lesser role with the team. Again, Moreland’s track record says that he has a propensity to get injured, but does a player want to count on a chance for injury to get more playing time? Only time will tell.
Other than those two names, there are not a lot of players left that could fill that role. Maybe the Texas Rangers could talk Lance Berkman out of retirement? Jon Daniels and his team are very smart, and I believe that they will get someone before March 31. Just who it will be is yet to be seen.