Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes that the Rangers have six candidates for the outfield: Josh Hamilton, Andruw Jones, Nelson Cruz, David Murphy, Frank Catalanotto, and Marlon Byrd. Is a trade in order?
Hamilton is a lock for one spot, and last I read the Rangers were intent on giving the out of options Cruz regular work (perhaps even in center field). We may be looking at Jones, Murphy, Catalanotto, and Byrd battling for two spots.
The commitment to Catalanotto is ugly: $4MM in ’09 plus another $2MM for his ’10 buyout. The contract plus his ability to play first base may keep him in Texas unless he can be swapped for another contract.
Jones could be cut if he doesn’t impress in Spring Training, or he could opt out on March 20th if he doesn’t like the way his role is shaping up. Rangers president Nolan Ryan seems quite fond of Murphy.
Byrd seems the likeliest trade candidate, especially if Jones makes the team. Sherman likes Byrd as a center field stopgap for the Yankees; he’s earning $3.06MM in his last year before free agency. The Cubs were after him a year ago, but seem filled up now. The White Sox could make sense but have not been connected to Byrd in rumors.