Despite his yearly struggles to remain consistent and put together a start-to-finish solid season, Texas Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland has long been a guy that Rangers fans pull for and want to see in a Rangers uniform.
He's got the country drawl, pop in his bat, and plays an above-average first base in the field, but when the Rangers acquired Prince Fielder last month for Ian Kinsler, it put some serious doubt in the club's future plans for Moreland.
Moreland is 28 years old and isn't a free agent until 2017, so he's still controllable at a very reasonable price for a few more years. This does two things: It makes it more appealing of an idea for the Rangers to hold on to him and hope he can realize his perceived potential, and it also makes him more appealing to teams looking to buy low on a guy that could end up being big at a reasonable price.
Moreland has reportedly drawn interest from the Tampa Bay Rays, who happen to have one of the hottest trade names on the market in David Price, and also the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are managed by Clint Hurdle. Hurdle was the Rangers' hitting coach in 2010, the year the Rangers won their first pennant and Moreland came onto the scene late to become one of the Rangers' best postseason hitters, especially in their World Series loss to San Francisco.
The plan right now is to have Moreland be the team's designated hitter, while possibly spelling Fielder at first base and possibly playing some left field, as well. Seems like a pretty good, important role that he could help the team with.
But if he could bring back the right guy in return, he could still be wearing a different team's uniform come April.