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Pujols/Fielder or Hamilton: Rangers Have Decision to Make

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Pujols/Fielder or Hamilton: Rangers Have Decision to Make

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Ever wonder how the Texas Rangers feel about going into the 2012 season with Mitch Moreland as their everyday first baseman?

Even though news came out last week that Moreland was battling a wrist injury throughout the second half of the season, it still doesn't inspire a big "wow factor" when you have Moreland at one of the biggest offensive production positions on the diamond.

He's by far the best defensive option on the current roster, but what if the Rangers could have a significant upgrade?

That is a strong possibility this off-season with a seemingly perfect storm of first baseman free agents on the market as both Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder are free for the taking.

Less than a week ago we hashed out the background of both of these guys, and none of that has changed.

But what has changed is there has simply been a little more time to digest everything and forecast the future a little.

The Rangers have money to spend. Pujols is likely going to command 10 years for anywhere between $250-$300 million. While he's the greatest hitter of this generation, that's a steep price to pay for a 31-year-old who has shown some injury history in recent seasons. But it sure would make a splash and it would make the Rangers lineup maybe the most potent in, well, ever.

Fielder probably wouldn't command quite as much money, though the years would be similar, but Fielder is also just 27 years old and probably still approaching his prime.

So what if the Rangers took the plunge and gave an A-Rod contract to one of those guys? It would almost certainly mean they would have to let Josh Hamilton walk after the 2012 season as he would likely command similar money and a similar term.

But for one season, the Rangers could make it work financially and it could net a special year, more special than the past two. Or it could back-fire, that's the nature of deals like this as the Rangers learned so painfully with Alex Rodriguez.

Imagine Fielder's uppercut left-handed swing in Rangers Ballpark. It'd be scary.

It'd be hard to part ways with Hamilton, who has become such an important figure in this city and for this franchise with his backstory and success. But with Hamilton's, for lack of better words, insane past his body is probably older than his age (30). The trips to the disabled list will become more and more routine as the years go on and the decline will probably happen faster than the typical big-league star.

Facts are facts, and what makes a great organization is the willingness to look beyond emotions and ties and look strictly at data and facts. Jon Daniels seems to be pretty good at that, and for the Rangers to be a lasting power in the American League, he'll have to be.

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