Mike Napoli #25 of the Texas Rangers is congratulated by Mitch Moreland #18 for a three run home run against the Seattle Mariners in the sixth inning at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on May 28, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.
I've always been a big fan of Mitch Moreland's game and what he brings to the Texas Rangers. He's developed into a better-than-average first baseman, he has monstrous power at times and he puts together great at-bats with more discipline at the plate than most of his teammates.
But he's also been hampered by injuries and has never been able to put together a full season to show what he truly is.
Now the Rangers are expressing interest in Washington Nationals free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche, who is coming off a season in which he hit 30 homers and drove in 100 runs while winning a gold glove. That all trumps Moreland, at least what he's been able to show us so far.
The 27-year-old had a career year in 2012 with just one stint on the disabled list, hitting .275 with 15 homers and 50 RBIs — one less homer and one less RBI than 2011 but an average 16 points higher than 2011. He had just three errors at first base.
The Rangers just need to figure out what they have in Moreland, whether its an everyday starter or a guy that you can bring off your bench and platoon at first base, DH and right field. If Nelson Cruz is traded could Moreland have more time in right field? He actually came up through the Rangers' farm system playing more right field than anything, but then again, he has become a more-than-capable first baseman.
It's one of the more perplexing questions the Rangers need to answer this offseason as they decide whether to ride it out with Moreland at first or make a move to bring in a first baseman that's more proven offensively.