The Rangers have a hard team to improve. They’re set at just about every position, and in many spots, for years to come. Three of their four infielders — plus DH/UT Michael Young — are under team control through at least 2013. Nelson Cruz and Cuban import Leonys Martin, 2/3 of the outfield, are locked in through then as well. The team’s projected 2012 starting rotation includes just one pitcher, Colby Lewis, who can leave before 2015. Only catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Josh Hamilton can become free agents after 2012, and the team has shown interest in locking up both players beyond that. While the Rangers would like to add a top-tier starting pitcher, they seem to be looking to do that in trade market rather than trying to sign Edwin Jackson, who–despite my case for him–isn’t seen as front-of-the-rotation material. The Rangers also have a good farm system that is particularly deep in pitching backing up the major league roster.
At first base, though, the team has Mitch Moreland splitting time with the veteran Young. Young is primarily a DH now, and his inexperience at first was a key part of the Rangers’ Game 6 loss in the World Series. Moreland is 26 and in a bit over a season’s worth of games has hit .258/.331/.427 in the majors, basically league-average performance. He recently underwent surgery on his right wrist that may limit his performance or availability at the start of 2012. Healthy, Moreland may be an average first baseman; he will never hit in the middle of the order for this team. He’s not someone who blocks Prince Fielder, who would make the Rangers three wins a year better, at minimum, over the next few years.
Meanwhile, the wait for Yu Darvish is on.