Could Nomar Mazara Replace Mitch Moreland?

Apr 24, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Texas Rangers right fielder Nomar Mazara (30) shakes hand with Texas Rangers interim third base coach Spike Owen (44) after hitting a solo home run against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 24, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Texas Rangers right fielder Nomar Mazara (30) shakes hand with Texas Rangers interim third base coach Spike Owen (44) after hitting a solo home run against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /
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With Shin Soo Choo expected to make his return to the Rangers lineup sometime in the next few weeks, I’ve developed a solution to keep Nomar Mazara in Arlington.

Nomar Mazara has been the most impactful hitter in the Texas Rangers lineup since his debut back on April 10th, hitting above .350 and consistently getting on-base at the top of the order. And all this success seems to be more than beginner’s luck, Mazara has a mature approach to the plate that points to continued success.

Because of how successful he’s been, many questions have been raised about what to do when Shin-Soo Choo returns to the roster from his calf injury suffered early this month. Choo was not exactly playing badly when he got injured. He was hitting just .188 but had a .409 on-base percentage which is perfect for someone who had been hitting at the top of the order.

When he does return, either himself or Mazara will have to move which is a very difficult solution to predict. But that’s what I’m here for. I offer the solution that hasn’t been mentioned and could make the most quick and efficient sense. Nomar Mazara could transition to first base.

Mitch Moreland is the starting first baseman for the Texas Rangers and defensively is about as solid as they come. He has good power at the plate, tying with Prince Fielder for the team lead in homeruns in 2015 at twenty-three. However he is inconsistent when it comes to getting on-base, finishing eighth among everyday players for the Rangers last season. At the age of 30, and having never fully blossomed into what we hoped, many believe that he is not the first baseman of the future and that in fact, Joey Gallo may be said first baseman. However, currently you need him, unless Mazara can make the transition.

Defensively in right field, Mazara is a quality player. He has below-average speed but still seems to cover ground well in right field. His arm is fairly average however he is accurate which leads to quite a few assists. But defensively, Shin-Soo Choo is the better right fielder. At first base though, Mazara has the length of a 6’4″ frame (2 inches more than Moreland) and is a lefty which is generally a positive at the corner.

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Of the three players, Choo, Moreland and Mazara, Mazara is the best hitter out of the three followed by Moreland and then Choo. Despite this though, Moreland is the most expendable and the best trade bait. Shin-Soo Choo’s contract is way to much for a team to accept without the Rangers paying a mighty portion of his salary. Moreland however, makes just $5.7 million this season and can’t officially be a free agent until 2017. A team looking for a good player to hit in the middle of the order and lock up first base defensively would give up quality players for Moreland’s services. He’s only 30 years old which means he’s got quite a bit more baseball left in his career.

Mazara could likely make the transition and some thought he might eventually early on in his career. This would not be a long term option most likely with Mazara going back to right field in 2017 but it would solve the issue this year and could let the Rangers get even better in the process. However, this seems unlikely while not being unsubstantiated.

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