With the 2013 MLB regular season approaching its end, the Texas Rangers are close to beginning of examining which players they must let go this offseason.
Throughout the course of the season, the Rangers have been battling the Oakland Athletics for first place in the AL West. The season surely isn't over, but grades have been produced in B/R's articles Grading Each Player on the Texas Rangers' 40-Man Roster and Grading Every Rangers Player for the Month of August.
One player who received a poor grade in the aforementioned articles is David Murphy. Since agreeing to a one-year contract after a stellar 2012 season, Murphy has failed to put up close to similar numbers during this 2013 season. A valuable platoon player, Murphy hasn't done enough to show that 2012 wasn't a fluke.
Murphy and the other players that will be mentioned are not guaranteed a spot on the 2014 Rangers roster. They will either hit the free-agent market or could get cut before the start of next season. These players aren't key to the Rangers' success in the near future.
Be it early October or late October, here are the players that the Rangers must let go this offseason.
The Rangers won't need Soto's services anymore.
Although providing the Rangers with clutch moments this year, Geovany Soto must go in the offseason.
During his limited playing time, Soto has been fine in his role as a backup catcher to A.J. Pierzynski. Also a free agent, the Rangers must re-sign Pierzynski. But, the Rangers could use an upgrade to the aging Pierzynski.
One name the Rangers have to go after in the offseason is Brian McCann.
McCann is a considerable upgrade to Soto, and if Pierzynski is re-signed, he could see an extended designated hitter role since he'll be 37 to start the 2014 season. With McCann as the starter and Pierzynski as the backup, both positions would be upgraded from 2013.
One other reason Soto must go is for the arrival of current top prospect Jorge Alfaro. As seen in the past with Jurickson Profar, the Rangers haven't been afraid to call up their top prospects. But, Alfaro might be another year away from being major league ready, so turning towards the free-agent market might be the best option.
Besides McCann, other players the Rangers could consider going after include Carlos Ruiz, Dioner Navarro, John Buck and Humberto Quintero. All of which would be an upgrade to Soto.
David Murphy hasn't come close to the player he was during the 2012 season.
David Murphy has been subpar this year, and the Rangers must let him go in the offseason.
After coming off a stellar year and earning a one-year contract, the lefty has been hitting for career lows. As of September 5, Murphy is hitting for a .222 batting average. Only in his first year in the MLB did he hit close to that average.
Other career lows include a .282 on base percentage and a .381 slugging percentage. Not only that, but when Murphy does get on base, he's been thrown out four times. And, he's only be able to steal one base this year. He stole a career-high 14 bases back in 2010.
There are several different options for replacing Murphy in left field during the offseason, but there's no guarantees.
One possibility is moving Ian Kinsler to the left field. Once willing to play the position, Kinsler still hasn't contributed to the outfield. However, SportsDayDFW's Evan Grant doesn't see Kinsler making the move. He talked about this during a July live chat.
"They tried to move Kinsler last year and he resisted so they backed off," Grant said. "Be kinda crazy if they tried the same thing again this winter."
Other options for replacing Murphy include trading or an offseason signing. Also, per B/R's Joel Reuter's September article, MLB Free Agents 2014: Predictions for Top 50 Available Players, he expects Nelson Cruz to re-sign with the Rangers. Cruz or Alex Rios could certainly be the everyday left fielder come the 2014 season.
Lance Berkman has seen better days.
It's time for the Rangers to jump ship and abandon Lance Berkman in the offseason.
Even though it's possible that Berkman could end up finishing out the 2013 season with some heroics, Berkman's time as a contributor to an MLB club is over.
Since his activation from the DL, Berkman is hitless in six at bats. He's having one of his worst seasons at the plate, something the Rangers were not hoping for when they signed him in the offseason. The Rangers must part ways with the former six-time All-Star performer and find another bat that can contribute in the 2014 season.
As discussed in a previous slide, A.J. Pierzynski could see himself in a designated hitting role if the Rangers go after Brian McCann. Also, if the Rangers find another option for left field, besides Nelson Cruz or Alex Rios, Cruz could wind up as the designated hitter.
The Rangers might be able to bring back Mike Napoli who would again be an instant upgrade. There's also a plethora of other MLB free agents the Rangers could go after.
The best situation is that Berkman heroically rises to the top and leads the Rangers to victory, like after Rocky took devastating left hooks to Drago in Rocky IV, but never went away and ended up victorious.
And then Berkman retires.