In today's Newberg Report, a must-read for all Texas Rangers fans, Jamey Newberg brought to attention an interesting tidbit from the USA Today, outlining possible free agent destinations for 10 guys in a market that should open up greatly with the signing of Masahiro Tanaka with the New York Yankees, as chips begin to fall into place.
Two of those are to local interest, as author Paul White suggests the Detroit Tigers will sign Nelson Cruz to a one-year deal, and the Rangers will sign Kendrys Morales to a two-year deal worth $25 million to presumably be the team's full-time designated hitter.
Morales is a switch hitter with power, so he'd be fine no matter who's on the mound, and that would throw a huge wrench in the team's plans for Mitch Moreland, who is set to be part of a DH platoon, likely getting starts against right-handed pitchers.
Depending on what happens with arbitration, Moreland is set to earn somewhere in between $2 million and $3.25 million in 2014, while according to this proposal, Morales would earn $12.5 — so that's a big difference.
Moreland hit 23 home runs last year despite missing a month, but after that injury, he dropped off dramatically, and he's yet to become the hitter the Rangers hoped he would following a stellar 2010 postseason after a late call-up that year.
But, Moreland is 28, so he's not young like Chris Davis or Adrian Gonzalez when the Rangers sent them packing. It doesn't seem he has a great chance to develop greatly somewhere else, but he could. He has big-time power, he just has some other stuff to figure out with his swing, and at 28, he's yet to do it.
He would be a desired piece on the trade market though. We know the Milwaukee Brewers asked about. We know Clint Hurdle had a good relationship with Moreland in 2010 when he was the Rangers hitting coach, and now he's the skipper of a good Pittsburgh team with a weakness at first base.
So who would you want in 2014? A 30-year-old Morales who can give you more now with less upside, or a 28-year-old Moreland who could still figure some stuff out and be really good, or could toil along as a .240 hitter with 20-home run power for $10 million cheaper? It's a tough decision.