While the Texas Rangers have not been a club recently to get a lot of actual business completed during the Winter Meetings, preferring instead to wait a little bit longer into the offseason, there is a lot of groundwork being laid as I type and as you read this, make no mistake.
While all clubs face this to some extent, it seems the Rangers are especially hinging every move they make on whether they can make Move A or Move B, or Move C before it.
Let's take a look at everything the Rangers must contemplate as they try to put together a team that can get them back to a deep October run in 2013.
- Josh Hamilton — The market here isn't developing as Hamilton probably would've liked, but it's developing exactly how the Rangers dreamed it would — slowly, and cheaply. It still takes just one team to drive up the bidding out of the Rangers' comfort zone, but as of now it seems Hamilton's chances of ending up back here are higher than they've been since probably May when he was the slam-dunk AL MVP and the guy that was going to win the first Triple Crown in decades.
- Elvis Andrus/Jurickson Profar — The Rangers had their plan to replace Hamilton's outfield production at the plate in the form of the Arizona Diamondbacks' talented outfielder Justin Upton. The Diamondbacks were, for some reason, willing to deal their star who is young and under control for quite some time, but only if the Rangers would give them a shortstop in return. The Rangers balked at that idea. Now, there are rumbles that the deal is being revisited, for either Profar or Andrus. Still don't see the Rangers pulling the trigger there but you never know.
- Ian Kinsler — If Profar and Andrus are both in Arlington this year, they'll be occupying the middle infield spots. Where does that leave Kinsler? Well, the original thought was that he'd move to the outfield and help replace Josh Hamilton. But what if Hamilton comes back? That's a crowded outfield with he, David Murphy, Craig Gentry, Leonys Martin and Nelson Cruz. There's been talk of dealing Cruz, but how much market does he have? Jon Daniels has gone on record saying Murphy has earned the right to be an everyday guy, and rightfully so.
- Michael Young — There's nothing wrong with a clubhouse leader who can play all four infield positions and DH. It just so happens he's set to earn $16 million in the final year of his deal and is coming off career-low numbers offensively just about across the board. Even still, if the Rangers trade Young, which has been discussed, they'd get nothing for him and would likely have to pay a huge chunk of his salary anyway. If he is gone, along with Mike Napoli, that opens up things at first base for Mike Olt as Mitch Moreland has yet to just grab the job like the Rangers' hoped. Also, it allows another possible position for Kinsler to move.
So see what we're talking about here? And this is just the beginning. So much the Rangers want to do this offseason depends on so much else. It could make for a very interesting week, but more likely a really interesting next month or so.