In an ongoing series, we'll address offseason questions the Texas Rangers have to answer.
Ron Washington loves Ian Kinsler as his leadoff man, and he makes no bones about it, defending Kinsler at every opportunity when people questioned why he continuously hit him in the leadoff spot during the worst season of his career.
Kinsler hit .256 with an on-base percentage of .326, stole just 21 bases and scored 105 runs. Those are far from staggering numbers for a guy that's supposed to be one of the few leadoff men in the game with transcendent talent when it comes to a blend of power and speed.
For instance, in 2011 his average was worse and his OBP was only slightly better, but he scored 121 runs, hit 32 homers (19 in 2012) and stole 30 bags.
So if Kinsler doesn't hit leadoff for the Rangers, who will?
There's really only one other option that is currently on the roster, and that's Elvis Andrus, who hit .286 with an OBP of .349 in 2012 as he had a breakout season. His stolen base numbers were down, as were Kinsler's, from previous seasons as he only stole 21 bags in a season in which the Rangers just quit running effectively. He's a solid candidate, but still not a dream one.
Who's a dream candidate? We've discussed this name before, but how about Michael Bourn, a free agent for the Atlanta Braves. One problem, the Braves will probably do everything they can to re-sign him, but he's a leadoff man's leadoff man.
Bourn hit .274 with a .348 OBP (one point lower than Andrus), but he stole 42 bases and has eclipsed 50 three times in his career (60 twice). He'd be a pure, natural leadoff hitter, which is really something the Rangers haven't had in this current regime.