How many Major League teams had their first baseman batting in the number-nine hole?
Very few, if any.
Not to take anything away from Mitch Moreland, who is a serviceable first baseman and was arguably the best hitter for the Rangers two years ago in the World Series, but Rangers fans know that having their first baseman hit ninth on a daily basis is never a good sign.
After back-to-back World Series appearances and coming away with no hardware, it's time that the Rangers add the missing piece to their already ridiculous lineup. It is time to add Prince Fielder, and here are eight reasons why.
Fresh off signing a 20 year, $3 billion TV contract with Fox Sports and new ownership, the Rangers finally have a stable financial system that should allow them to jump into the top 10 of payrolls this year. The Rangers were 13th in payroll last year.
There are few teams with TV contracts of that size. The rival LA Angels signed a similar contract this year and turned that contract into Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. The Rangers must strike while the iron is hot. They will have money to spend, so why not spend it on one of the biggest power-hitting first baseman in baseball?
The lineups have just been announced: Kinsler, Young, Hamilton, Fielder, Beltre, Cruz, Napoli, Martin/Murphy and Andrus.
You could easily confuse the Rangers' lineup with an All-Star lineup. There is speed at both ends of the lineup and there is an unworldly amount of power in the middle.
This lineup cannot be pitched around. There is no easy out in this lineup. This lineup will leave pitchers scratching their heads on what to do.
This lineup has a chance to be historic. This will be hands down the best lineup in baseball and it really isn’t even close. While this lineup was great last year, adding Prince and his big bat in the middle could launch this lineup into the discussion of one of the 20 greatest lineups in MLB history.
If the Rangers can reel in Prince and finish the negotiations with Yu Darvish, this team will be set for a long time.
Already considered by most as having a team that will contend for years to come, adding Prince Fielder and Yu Darvish to an already young, dynamic core, will result in the Rangers being considered by all as the premier team in baseball for the next seven to 10 years.
The Rangers' young pitching consists of Derek “Dutch Oven” Holland, Matt Harrison, Neftali Feliz, Alexi Ogando, some very solid prospects like Martin Perez and Tanner Scheppers and possibly Yu Darvish.
The everyday players are just as impressive.
With Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, Mitch Moreland, Leonys Martin, Julio Borbon, Mike Olt and possibly Prince Fielder, the Rangers will be perennial contenders.
We all know that the Ballpark in Arlington is a haven for power hitters in baseball. With those hot summer nights and that crazy jet stream that flows through the ballpark, the ball just flies out the park in Texas.
Last year, when it was obvious that Prince Fielder was not going to return to Milwaukee, the rumor mill began to churn out stories about the possibility of Prince making his way to North Texas. There was lots of water-cooler talk regarding what Prince would do to a baseball in Arlington.
50, 60 or even 70 home runs?
While 70 homers can not be expected, I could easily see Prince hitting 40 home runs just in Texas throughout the year. With his swing, the jet stream and the relatively short right outfield wall in Texas, the fireworks at the ballpark are sure to go off constantly.
The most valuable asset you can have in baseball is a farm system stocked full of top-notch prospects. Texas boasts one of the top farm systems in baseball and by signing Prince, they retain their assets by not having to forfeit a single prospect.
Instead of trading away 3 or 4 of your top prospects to get one the best players in baseball, the Rangers will be able to store those prospects away for a major trade later on down the road.
Should the Rangers' young pitching staff not live up to expectations, GM Jon Daniels can go to his farm system, take a couple of young prospects and trade them to pick up a big-time pitcher, much like they did a couple of years ago when they acquired Cliff Lee.
Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz could leave the Texas Rangers after this season.
Hamilton and Cruz are both arbitration eligible, but could leave if not offered long-term deals. The Rangers know that if they sign both Darvish and Fielder to long-term contracts, that would almost guarantee the end of either Hamilton or Cruz being a Ranger.
Both Hamilton and Cruz have major power and play huge roles in the outfield, but if I was given a choice of signing Hamilton, Cruz or Fielder to a long term contract, it would be a no-brainer.
I would sign Fielder in an instant. He is younger than both Hamilton and Cruz and more durable than either one of them. Plus, there is no drop-off in power with Fielder.
The biggest concern with any team signing a long-term contract with Prince Fielder is that his weight could be a huge issue in the future. Sure, he is 5'11" and 270lbs, but he can still play a decent first base and obviously has the “no-doubt about it” home-run power that a man of his size surely should have.
The Rangers could definitely insert a weight clause into his contract to help ensure that his weight issues do not become a problem, but the Rangers also have another option should Prince’s weight become a concern.
They could move him over to the DH if his weight begins to affect his performance defensively at first. That is a luxury that 16 teams in the National League do not have.
There is precedent for this as well: He goes by the nickname Big Papi. Yes, I know, David Ortiz is big, burly and slow, but he can still swing the stick and is just as important to his team as a DH as he was when he played in the field.
Coming off their second consecutive World Series visit, most thought that Texas would win the AL West in 2012 and be the one of the favorites to reach the World Series again.
That thought process seemed logical until December 8th when the Angels reached into their pocketbook and decided to sign arguably the best hitter and pitcher on the free agent market
The signing of both Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson shocked everyone and shifted the landscape of the AL West. Some think Texas has gone from being a shoe-in to winning the AL West to battling for a wild card spot.
Texas has already started to offset the major additions by the Angels by winning the rights to negotiate with Yu Darvish. They can completely negate the moves by the Angels and regain their crown by signing a certain Prince.