- Created on Wednesday, 07 November 2012 23:37
INDIAN WELLS, Calif.
Happy Independence Day.
Nothing against Hamilton and Pujols — both are incredible talents. But just as the Cardinals were better off avoiding a mega-deal for Pujols, the Rangers will be better off avoiding one for Hamilton.
In fact, the Rangers have so many good, versatile players, they could be in an even stronger position than the Cardinals were when Pujols bolted for the Los Angeles Angels last December.
Really, the only question is how the Rangers want to go about this.
Their possibilities include:
- Trading shortstop Elvis Andrus, possibly for Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton, and turning over short to hotshot rookie Jurickson Profar.
- Playing Profar at second base, where he would form an electric double-play combination with Andrus, and moving Ian Kinsler to left field.
- Signing a top free-agent starting pitcher such as Zack Greinke or Anibal Sanchez and becoming even more oriented toward pitching and defense.
The Twins, mind you, have shown no interest in moving Mauer, who — ahem — is earning $23 million per season through 2018 and holds a full no-trade clause.
Mauer, though, would be a perfect fit for the Rangers, filling their biggest positional need as well as their need for a No. 3 hitter to replace Hamilton.
As it stands, the team is investigating any and all free-agent catchers, including Russell Martin and A.J. Pierzynski. The Rangers’ need at the position will exist even if they re-sign Mike Napoli, who is more of a hybrid than a pure catcher. And Napoli, sources say, is drawing interest from the Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners and other clubs.
As for Hamilton, Rangers GM Jon Daniels said Wednesday that the team remains open to signing him. But actions speak louder than words at this time of year, and the Rangers’ fervent but failed pursuit of free-agent designated hitter David Ortiz was a clear indication that they already are planning for Life After Josh.
Andrus, 24, could emerge as the central figure in the team’s off-season maneuverings — particularly if he is the bait for Upton, whom the Diamondbacks are again actively discussing in trades, according to major-league sources.
The difference in contracts is considerable: Upton, 25, has three years and $38.5 million left, Andrus two years, $11.275 million. The real question is whether the Rangers actually want to trade Andrus, whose stellar defense at short helped redefine a club that in the past was mostly a collection of sluggers.
Andrus’ clock toward free agency is ticking — he is represented by Scott Boras, who generally prefers his clients to determine their values on the open market rather than through club-friendly contract extensions. Maybe Andrus will be an exception, a Boras client who decides to stay put. But the best guess is that after 2014, he’s a goner.
And Upton, if the Rangers could get him, would be awfully attractive.
As the team’s new No. 3 hitter. As part of a future offensive core with Profar and infielder Mike Olt. And as a player who would enable the Rangers to trade right fielder Nelson Cruz entering his free-agent year.
Obviously, Upton also makes sense for a number of other teams: the Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies, to name a few. But perhaps only the Rays, with their impressive stable of starting pitchers, could offer a player as tempting as Andrus.
On one hand, trading Andrus would leave the Rangers awfully young up the middle if they went with Profar at short and Leonys Martin in center. On the other hand, keeping Andrus would force the Rangers into a different set of hard decisions.
Profar has nothing left to prove in the minors (and really, neither does Olt, who is blocked by Adrian Beltre at third and could end at first or in right). But if the Rangers stuck Profar at second and Kinsler in left, they would lack an obvious opening for a new No. 3 hitter.
They could sign free agents at other positions — one of the center fielders perhaps, or first baseman Adam LaRoche. They also could move Kinsler to first and pursue a corner outfielder, but then Mitch Moreland would be squeezed, and so would the fading Michael Young.
Of course, another option would be to sign Greinke or Sanchez and load up on run prevention. The rotation then would include one of those pitchers, Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland and Alexei Ogando, all of whom would be under 30 at the start of next season.
As with Upton, other teams could prevent the Rangers from achieving their goals. Many in the industry believe if the Los Angeles Dodgers want Grienke, they’ll get Greinke, unless the prized righty is determined to stay with the Los Angeles Angels.
The point is this: The Rangers can go in any number of directions, all of them intriguing, none of them including Hamilton.
Independence Day is near. St. Louis survived just fine, and so will Texas.
- Gov. LePage announces next town hall
- Car hits mobile home
- Police step up road blocks in Hancock County to keep roads safe
- Red Cross offering tickets to fair in exchance for blood
- Fate of downtown building decided
- Maine teen among youngest delegates at DNC
- Ellsworth man arrested following surveillance in stalking case
- Skowhegan man arrested on multiple charges
- Casco Bay rescue
- Orrington "Endless Yard Sale" had many offerings
- Central Gallery hosting many events through the summer
- Blank Canvas Brewery relocates
- Group forms to help refugees in Lewiston
- Ellsworth police upping speed patrols
- Postal worker accused of stealing graduation and birthday gifts
- A Surry man who was rescued from a quarry in Sullivan last week has died
- 12-foot loon being added to the Town of Lincoln
- Two new Maine Laws go into effect this week
- Two shot dead, including doctor, at Berlin hospital
- Priest murdered during Mass in terror attack on Catholic church in France
- Hillary deals with angry convention as Sarah Silverman busts the Bernie backers
- Sarah Silverman booed at DNC for telling Bernie Sanders supporters they're 'ridiculous'
- Florida Georgia Line insist they're not anti-police after denying law enforcement backstage access at 2 shows
- Silk Road gave infectious disease a route, ancient poop shows
- 'Property Brother' star Jonathan Scott loves working with brother, puts family first
- Mother says she warned her son before he was killed at Fort Myers nightclub
- At least 1 hostage, 2 attackers killed at France church
- Priest murdered, hostages taken during Mass at French church
- Kansas woman's body found after skydiving in Oklahoma
- Colorado family's surprise trip to Disney World abruptly ended after serious accident
- Colorado family's Disney vacation ended by suspected drunken driver
- Mother-in-law of Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone reportedly kidnapped in Brazil
- Prominent GOP Illinois lawmaker abruptly resigns over cybersecurity issues
- Gunman gets shot in Las Vegas by Pokemon GO player he tried to rob
- Home invasion killer to be resentenced to life in prison
- Sanders, Warren, Mrs. Obama slam Trump and appeal for unity at unruly Dem convention
- Season 8 Of 'The Vampire Diaries' Will Be Its Last
- Rob Kardashian Deletes All Photos Of Blac Chyna From Instagram Before Unfollowing Her
- Katt Williams Arrested On Suspicion Of Battery
- Kristen Bell Reveals Her & Dax Shepard's Wedding Photos -- Three Years Later!
- Celebrities Have Climate Rally Ahead Of The Democratic National Convention
- Celebrities Attend Climate Rally Ahead Of The Democratic National Convention
- Prince Harry Wishes He'd Spoken Sooner About The Death Of Princess Diana
- U2, Drake, Britney Spears & Sting To Perform At The 2016 iHeartRadio Music Festival
- Next Chapter Of "Star Trek" franchise Will Be Called "Star Trek: Discovery"
- Brie Larson Cast As 'Captain Marvel'
- Rihanna To Join 'Bates Motel' Cast To Play Famous Janet Leigh 'Psycho' Scene
- Rihanna Cast For Famous 'Psycho' Shower Scene In 'Bates Motel' Finale
- Oklahoma student sues running back Mixon over assault case
- Michael Jordan speaks out on police shootings, pledges $2M to building community trust
- Woman shares her sexual assault story with Baylor players
- Dockett leaves NFL like he entered it -- as a Cardinal
- Jones carries Orioles to 3-2 win over Rockies in 10 innings
- AP source: Lue, Cavs agree to multiyear contract extension
- Thunder PG Cameron Payne has surgery on broken foot
- NFL investigating possible Aldon Smith video
- Mariners-Pirates preview
- Darnell Dockett retires as Arizona Cardinal
- Rays-Dodgers preview
- Braves-Twins preview