The Rangers Offseason Concerns and Expectations

JD
Now that the off-season is officially upon us and the Hot Stove is getting fired up, lots of ideas and rumors will be floated around for us to consider and think about. There are also some clear cut in-house decisions to make as well. The most wonder time of the off-season is here, and the Rangers front office should be ready to make some moves in preparation for the new season.
Jose Abreu is now a member of the Chicago White Sox. Regardless of the reasons, there is now one less first base option on the table for the Rangers to go after. Mike Napoli just won a World Series ring in Boston and will most likely stay there. The front office has expressed that they would like to see more power from the position, yet they also seem likely to stick with Moreland one more year. He will want the chance, yet again, to prove why he should be the choice. Injuries have handicapped any progress he has made, especially last season when his hamstring gave out. It would not be surprising to see him get one more shot; but, if Jurickson Profar is still around, they may opt to let Moreland go and move Ian Kinsler to the position instead. This situation seems the murkiest, simply because of the lack of market options available to the Rangers.

JD has a fair bit of work in front of him now. He needs to fix the offensive holes that sank the Rangers last season. The big fish seems to be catcher Brian McCann, with pitchers Masahiro Tanaka and David Price as probable targets as well. As mentioned before, Kinsler could solve the problem at first base and Craig Gentry could fill in well enough in left field IF McCann or a solid catching option is acquired. Nelson Cruz would be an ideal DH candidate, but rumors of multi-year deal shyness will probably limit that option to the offering of a qualifying offer, which would secure a draft pick. It will be a most interesting offseason for Daniels, and an important one. Can he fix the holes? We shall see.

This may be the last offseason that the Rangers ownership and front office get criticized for being too conservative financially. They will get a hefty some starting at the end of next season when the 20-year tv deal kicks in (at around $80 million a year for 20 years). Their philosophy of not extending huge multiyear deals to older players will probably stay intact, but the financials they can offer on shorter deals will most likely increase. Since taking over in 2010, the current ownership group has done well to get big deals done (Beltre, Kinsler, Andrus) and some big, but shrewd deals (Darvish, Harrison, Holland) done as well. I’m personally anxious to see how their thinking expands next off-season. More importantly, this offseason will be important with the likes of McCann, Ellsbury, and Tanaka up for grabs at a price.

Nelson Cruz and Joe Nathan are most likely on the way out the door. There is question on whether Nelly could/would stay to DH primarily, and whether it would make sense to have him around past this next season. Joe Nathan pretty much has 2 replacements already in line to take over his role in the bullpen. There is little need to keep him here, since he wants and deserves the deal he’s seeking and the Rangers just don’t have the need to offer it to him now. Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, and Jurickson Profar find themselves in a funky baseball trio. A lot can be avoided if Kinsler moves to first, but if the intent is to stick with Moreland, then one will probably go via a trade for something that’s missing from the club.

In the next couple of days, the first round of decisions on Nathan and Cruz will be made, plus decisions regarding some other players, namely Geovany Soto, Craig Gentry (arbitration), and possibly even Engel Beltre. Here’s hoping they have a productive off-season; I trust they will get the team ready for a great 2014.

Sarah Powers is a Staff Writer for ShutDowninning.com. She can be reached at sarah.powers@shutdowninning.com or on Twitter @Power_Play86.
Sarah Powers

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