Designated hitter Prince Fielder bounced back in a big way in 2015, but his future with the Texas Rangers is reportedly uncertain.
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Report: Rangers 'Surveying' Teams on Fielder Interest
Tuesday, Dec. 8
According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, the Rangers have asked around the league regarding clubs' interest in trading for Fielder and taking on most of his contract. To this point, however, Texas has reportedly struggled to find a potential fit.
The 31-year-old Fielder hit .305 with 23 home runs and 98 RBI in 2015, one season after a neck injury limited him to just 42 games.
The former Milwaukee Brewers and Detroit Tigers slugger was named to the All-Star team for the sixth time in his career last season, and he won MLB's AL Comeback Player of the Year Award as well.
Although he appeared in 18 games at first base, the bulk of Fielder's playing time came as a designated hitter, which was paramount in keeping him healthy.
The six-time 30-homer guy was a stalwart in the middle of Texas' batting order and led the Rangers back to the playoffs after a two-year absence.
While Fielder was excellent in 2015, Rangers manager Jeff Banister believes he can be even better in 2016 and beyond, per Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
This is a guy that, I mean, there may not be a ceiling on what he can do, but I do believe there's definitely room for improvements and an increase on the numbers just based on where he was coming into spring training. The commitment to being a hitter, trying to find his stroke again, trying to find the timing, which he did very well for a long period of time during the season.
Despite that, the Rangers' interest in moving Fielder is somewhat understandable since he has five years remaining on his contract at $24 million per season, according to Spotrac.com.
That is a hefty price to pay, especially for someone who is being phased out as a positional player, along with being just one season removed from a significant neck injury.
Replacing a bat of Fielder's caliber in the lineup wouldn't be easy, but it is certainly possible since power-hitting utility man Joey Gallo may be ready for a full-time role in 2016.
Also, with a pitching rotation that includes Cole Hamels, Derek Holland and an eventually returning Yu Darvish, the Rangers may be better equipped to win with their arms rather than their bats.
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