There is no doubt that the Texas Rangers will make a few changes in the offseason as they try to address needs that can help the team improve on the 2012 season. One are the Rangers will need to focus on is the inevitable log jam in the infield.
I believe that Jurickson Profar is ready for the big leagues. I could tell by his approach in the few games he appeared in at the end of the season that he was comfortable. The question is what do you do with him? He's a natural shortstop but he's also learned second base. Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler both have those positions currently covered and the way I see it there are four things the Rangers could possibly do.
1. Trade Ian Kinsler
Kinsler had a bad year both offensively and defensively. While his batting average was one point higher than last years he had the worst OBP (.326) and OPS (.749) of his career while seeing a decline in run production. He's still young so it's not as if he is regressing and he could be a valuable part on any team. The only problem is his contract. He's owed $82 million through 2018 with the final year being a $12 million team option. Would another team be willing to take on that contract? Maybe if Texas kicked in some cash it would help. I honestly don't see Ian being traded but it's a possibility.
2. Trade Elvis Andrus
He could be moved easier than Kinsler. Every team needs a good shortstop. Elvis posted the highest average (.286) and OBP (.349) of his career in 2012 and it seems as if he'll only get better. He is only owed $11.275 million over the next two years which would be a steal for a player of his caliber. Texas could keep him but the one thing to keep in mind is the fact that his agent is the dreaded and feared Scott Boras. You can count on Andrus commanding a lot of money after the 2014 season. Low cost plus high reward could be enticing for other teams.
3. Trade Jurickson Profar
He's still the Rangers top prospect and could be packaged with others in order to bring another starting pitcher here or an outfielder to replace Josh Hamilton who will leave via free agency. I see him as the future of the franchise and would rather see him stay here.
All of the above are avenues that the Rangers could pursue but I have one final thought. A move that could be made that would keep all three players here.
4. Trade Nelson Cruz
Yes Nelson Cruz has a great arm. Yes he provides some power at the plate. Nelson is also owed $10.5 million next season (the final year of his contract) and is pretty weak defensively. I realize that he can fire missiles to home plate with the hose he possesses but he also has problems reading balls when they are hit off the bat. Trading Cruz would allow Texas to move Kinsler to right field and keep Profar and Andrus together in the infield. The money that would be saved by letting Josh Hamilton walk and trading Nelson Cruz could allow Texas to sign free agent outfielder B.J. Upton. I don't think it's too radical and would still allow Texas to field a competitive team every day.
Until next time, I'll see you in the cheap seats!
James Holland is a lifelong fan of baseball and his hometown Texas Rangers. He is also a senior columnist for shutdowninning.com, clawandantlernation.com and a member of SABR. You can also follow him on Twitter @SDIJamesHolland.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ian Kinsler
- Elvis Andrus
- Texas Rangers
- Jurickson Profar