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A Priority Checklist for the Rangers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Swing, and miss. Swing, and miss. Swing, and miss.

    No, it's not Josh Hamilton's late-season at-bats from 2012, but instead it's the sound of the Texas Rangers seemingly whiffing on each and every target they have put in their cross-hairs this offseason, whether it be via free agency or trade.

    OK, you can stop laughing at my humorous joke now, and let's take a look at what remains of the Rangers' priority checklist for the offseason.

    1. Catcher: This is the most important piece that is still missing. Geovany Soto showed he can handle a staff and perform well enough behind the plate, but at the plate? Yikes. Soto shouldn't be the everyday catcher this team, though it might turn out that way. The Rangers need to get another catcher to bring in and right now the only viable free agent option is Chicago White Sox veteran A.J. Pierzynski. He'd provide a good left-handed bat that is coming off a career power year.

    2. Bullpen: This is vital, but not as dire as catcher because if there's anywhere on a baseball team you can usually utilize the "plug-and-play" strategy, it's in the bullpen. The Rangers have to replace Mike Adams, Koji Uehara, Mark Lowe, Alexi Ogando and maybe even Robbie Ross as reports say he could also move to the starting rotation along with Ogando. There's names out there to be had, but they're drying up quickly. The Rangers could be investing their confidence in-house with guys like Tanner Scheppers.

    3. Middle-of-the-order bat: This is the least important, as the Rangers' still have a plenty good lineup even with the losses of Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Mike Napoli. It might be a slightly different lineup, relying less on power and more on speed, but it's still good. But, another big bat in the middle of the order can never hurt. That's where switch hitter Nick Swisher and left-handed first baseman Adam LaRoche enter the picture. Swisher is the main target here, but don't expect it to happen.