Here’s the latest out of Arlington…
- GM Jon Daniels cited a right-handed hitter who can play left field and first base as an “important” need for the team, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Such a player could both platoon with Mitch Moreland and fill in for Josh Hamilton in left, or possibly act as cover should Hamilton again miss significant time with injuries. Ryan Rua or Patrick Kivlehan are internal options who lack experience in such a role, while the free agent market offers some possibilities at both positions (Steve Pearce, Sean Rodriguez) or one or the other. The best-case scenario for Texas, of course, would be that Hamilton stays healthy, and with that still a possibility, the Rangers aren’t likely to invest in a major left field upgrade like Justin Upton.
- Also from Wilson’s piece, he interestingly notes that the Rangers checked in with the Reds on Todd Frazier, though “nothing came out of [the] conversation.” Frazier, who played some left in the minors, would’ve been used as that first base/left field bat rather than his usual third base spot, which is obviously spoken for by Adrian Beltre. Presumably Frazier would’ve gotten more regular playing time than a regular platooner, and with Beltre a free agent after 2016, Frazier could’ve then been an option to replace him at the hot corner.
- The Rangers like Mike Napoli but the first base/DH situation is already pretty filled by Moreland and Prince Fielder, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes. “Mike probably fits us best if there is another move where we get presented with something on the trade front that opens some playing time up,” Daniels said. Moreland is clearly much more likely to be dealt than Fielder, and Grant opines that the Pirates could be a good fit due to Moreland’s long relationship with Bucs manager Clint Hurdle and their need at first base with Pedro Alvarez gone.
- In another piece from Grant, he talks to Daniels about how the Rangers will go about acquiring starters in what has become a particularly expensive market for pitching. As Daniels notes, the Rangers “were kind of anticipating this kind of market” which is why they instead got a long-term ace in Cole Hamels last summer. That deal cost them a hefty sum in prospects but it could end up costing Texas less than what other teams have paid to sign or acquire top-of-the-rotation arms this winter. Daniels doesn’t anticipate making another major deal of minor leaguers to add another pitcher. Grant suggests a few lower-cost options, like re-signing Colby Lewis or signing non-tendered free agents like Henderson Alvarez or Mike Minor who could be buy-low candidates.