During the holidays, everyone is enjoying time with family and friends. But, with the new year around the corner, our thoughts will once again turn to baseball and the Texas Rangers.
They’ve lost a few big bats, with Josh Hamilton signing with the Los Angeles Angels and Mike Napoli still trying to make sure he ends up with the Boston Red Sox, and they are trying to replace one of those bats with the signing of A.J. Pierzynski.
There’s still work to be done with this roster, and a few players are available to fill the holes remaining in the starting rotation, bullpen and on offensive.
You can start with free-agent first baseman Adam LaRoche. Though the Rangers would have to give up a draft pick if they sign LaRoche, isn’t the point to make your team is better than it is right now? Are draft picks really important at this point, or are you comfortable watching the Rangers go full Dallas Mavericks and look more like a bottom-feeding team than an AL West competitor?
Another free agent still on the market, right-hander Derek Lowe, could be a veteran pitcher on a team that needs a number-five starter until Colby Lewis returns around the All-Star break. At that point, you can use Lowe exactly how you used Scott Feldman this past season. He can give you a spot start or two and come out of the bullpen for long relief if needed. He’s no Roy Oswalt, and that might be the best news of all.
How about filling an outfield need by signing a guy by the name of Michael Bourn? Though I’ve never been the biggest fan of his, mostly because of the price tag, signing him would allow the Rangers to move Nelson Cruz to the designated hitter spot, or he might make an attractive trade piece. Though there are certainly questions about whether he has a lot of value at this point.
After the Arizona Diamondbacks acquired Cody Ross this past week, it opened the Justin Upton rumor desk again.But general manager Kevin Towers is certainly not going to give Upton away for a piece of pumpkin pie or cornbread stuffing (no matter how good yours might be). Arizona doesn’t have to trade their outfielder and they know it. However, the Rangers’ front office doesn’t normally bend to another team’s request nor are they a group that makes a move out of desperation.
Though I say that remembering the trade deadline acquisition of Ryan Dempster.
Changes must take place in order for the Rangers to make the AL West more interesting than the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve.
Unless Jon Daniels wants to be known for “pulling a Mark Cuban” this offseason, the new year could bring a whole new list of possibilities. Are the Rangers just waiting in the weeds to pick off the right players? Is there a trade brewing slowly like a good pot of coffee that we don’t know about? Or will Texas let it ride with its young players just to see what happens?
Since I can’t answer those questions at the moment, I’ll end this column as simple as I can: Happy holidays.
But will it be a happy new year?