The Texas Rangers have been quiet so far this offseason, but that doesn't mean they aren't looking to pull off a few big moves for the 2014 season.
The biggest move the Rangers have made so far is the re-signing of catcher Geovany Soto. While it meets a need, Soto's signing isn't anything to write home about at this point.
General manager Jon Daniels is claiming that Soto will be the club's starting catcher heading into the new season. While that's what is being said right now, there are plenty of good catchers on the market who are better than Soto, and who Texas could still bring in—most notably Brian McCann.
If Texas does opt to go with Soto as its starter next season, the signing of another catcher likely won't be one of the Rangers' biggest signings. Here are some other big moves that Texas could look to make this offseason.
Re-Sign Nelson Cruz
After declining the Rangers' $14.1 million offer, outfielder Nelson Cruz is officially a free agent, but Texas still has a realistic shot at signing him. The biggest question regarding Cruz's signing is how much the veteran outfielder will demand.
Cruz's history presents plenty of reason for him to demand a large contract. He is a lifetime .268 hitter with a .327 on-base percentage and has 157 homers to go with 489 RBI. Unfortunately for the nine-year veteran, his suspension this season for performance-enhancing drugs could keep teams from matching his contract demands.
With the release of Lance Berkman and Joe Nathan, Texas will have plenty of money to spend on Cruz if it wants to bring him back. For a team that struggled offensively down the stretch, Cruz's return would be a welcome re-signing for next season.
Sign Shin-Soo Choo
You don't have to look for too many comment threads on articles like this to see that Rangers fans want their team to go after Shin-Soo Choo. The Rangers' reasons to sign Choo make just as much sense as their re-signing of Cruz.
Choo's services won't come without a high price, however. According to D.J. Short of NBC Sports, Choo could be seeking a contract in the range of $90 million, but his demands may be even higher than that.
The nine-year veteran hit .285 last season with 21 homers and 54 RBI, and he has a lifetime batting average of .288. He doesn't have the power that Cruz brings to the table, but his .423 on-base percentage last season ranked fourth among all players in the majors.
In addition to his high on-base percentage, Choo also scored the third-most runs in the league with 107 and stole 20 bases.
One of the most ideal situations for Texas could be the re-signing of Cruz and the signing of Choo. If the Rangers can manage to lure in the two outfielders, they could ideally play Choo in the outfield and leave Cruz as the designated hitter for years to come.
It's scary to think about how good Texas could be with a lineup that features both Cruz and Choo to go along with the other players it already has. If the Rangers can't land Choo, there are still guys like Curtis Granderson, Jacoby Ellsbury and Nate McLouth on the free-agent market who could also make for nice signings.
Reunite with Mike Napoli
The Boston Red Sox signed Mike Napoli to a one-year deal at the start of the 2013 season. At 32 years old, Napoli still possesses a lot of power and run-production ability, as he showed with the Red Sox in 2013.
Napoli converted to a full-time first baseman this past season, but could also serve as the Rangers' designated hitter if he happens to return to Texas. He hit .259 for the Red Sox this year, belting 23 homers and driving in 92 RBI. He also drew a career-high 73 walks with a .360 on-base percentage—the second-highest OBP of his career.
If the Rangers sign Napoli, it most likely would mean the team doesn't pursue Cruz or Choo, but the move would still be great for the organization. Adding another powerful bat to the lineup should be a top priority for the Rangers regardless, and Napoli's bat could be just what they're looking for in their lineup.
Trading for a Starting Pitcher
The prospect of the Rangers bringing in another starting pitcher isn't as important as addressing their offensive needs, but it's still a possibility. The biggest reason that the team could acquire a starting pitcher is because of its crowded stockpile of talented middle infielders.
Now that Jurickson Profar is with the team, Texas has little room to start him on a regular basis alongside Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler. The best way for the Rangers to get rid of this problem could be via a trade. The most likely Ranger to be dealt appears to be Profar. Given the fact that Andrus was signed to an eight-year, $120 million contract last season, teams may not want to commit to him in the same way as Texas.
The Cardinals could to send either Shelby Miller or Lance Lynn to Texas in exchange for Profar, according to Matt Snyder of CBS Sports This isn't a move that has been discussed by either team at the moment, but that doesn't mean it won't happen.
Miller posted solid numbers for the Cardinals last season. He went 15-9 in his first full year with a 3.06 ERA, striking out 169 batters. At 23 years old, acquiring Miller would add another young arm to an already young and talented rotation.
In the case of the Rays being a possible trade partner, Texas would most likely send Profar to the Rays for David Price.
Price won the AL Cy Young award in 2012, but didn't live up to that performance in 2013. After getting off to a rough start, Price finished last season with a 10-8 record and a 3.33 ERA. The biggest problem with Texas acquiring Price is that it would have three lefties in its rotation. For that reason, I'd expect Texas to look for a righty if the Rangers area going to trade for a starter this offseason.
All stats and info courtesy of MLB.com, BaseballReference.com, CBSSports.com, NBCSports.com and DallasNews.com.
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