The Texas Rangers are now in the market for two bats instead of one.
According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, Lance Berkman acknowledged he may not return this year.
Berkman acknowledged Wednesday that he has considered the possibility of either retiring or walking away from the remainder of the season if he doesn’t soon see progress. Berkman is on the disabled list with hip inflammation, but his longer-term issue has been an inability to fully extend his surgically-repaired knee.
With the fate of Nelson Cruz's possible suspension in the Biogenesis scandal still up in the air, the Rangers may now have to extend their search for a bat.
If Cruz is suspended, the Rangers would have two holes in power-hitting positions (outfield and designated hitter). And if they're going to make a run on the Oakland Athletics in the AL West, that can't happen.
So, what do the Rangers do?
According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Rangers have targeted three hitters: Chicago White Sox outfielder Alex Rios, San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence and Seattle Mariners designated hitter Kendrys Morales.
There's no question that the Rangers will need to make a move, especially if Cruz ends up getting suspended.
But that suspension could also come after the trading deadline, so the Rangers also need to be prepared for that.
With their interest in those three hitters, what would each bring to the table if Texas traded for them?
There's no denying what Rios can bring to the table. He's batting .274 with 12 home runs, 48 RBI and 21 stolen bases.
Whatever outfield position they place him in, he'll be successful. He has three errors in 211 chances and also has eight outfield assists.
Rios would be able to be inserted into the middle of the lineup with Adrian Beltre, Mitch Moreland and (possibly) Cruz.
Pence has been a stud for the Giants this year. For the year, he's batting .278 with 14 home runs and 58 RBI.
He's another player that would be great in the middle of the lineup and would bring a lot of energy to the field.
However, he would come with a large price.
He would be the hardest of the three to acquire. He's already stated he loves San Francisco and wants to stay there.
With him becoming a free agent at the end of the year, it would be dumb for the Rangers to trade for him with his ability to just re-sign with the Giants next year.
It is true they're trying to win it all this year, but it wouldn't be worth the price it would cost for Pence.
Morales is another free agent after this year and could be had by the Rangers for a reasonable package.
He's batting .280 with 15 home runs and 57 RBI. He would be specifically used as a DH and wouldn't solve the outfield problems for the Rangers.
Still, it would solve one of the issues the Rangers have.
The Rangers could go after other players, but these three are the ones specifically linked to the team. As to what will happen, we'll find out in less than a week.
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