SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 24: Justin Smoak #17 of the Seattle Mariners is congratulated by Kendrys Morales #8 (L) after hitting a three-run homer against the Kansas City Royals in the fifth inning at Safeco Field on September 24, 2013 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Prince Fielder is out for the season after it was announced on Thursday that he'd undergo cervical fusion surgery on Tuesday barring some unforeseen miracle in a second opinion from someone other than Rangers' team back and spine specialist Dr. Drew Dossett.
This puts a huge damper on a season that has already had far more than its share of depressing moments, including season-ending injuries to Martin Perez and Matt Harrison and a setback announced on Thursday that will probably put Jurickson Profar out for the season before he even plays a game.
But general manager Jon Daniels and the Rangers front office owes something to guys like Adrian Beltre, Alex Rios, Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus, not to mention Yu Darvish, and that is to help them still compete.
While the AL West is probably lost, the Wild Card is not out of the question, but only if the team makes some small moves. The top candidate out there is free agent DH/first base type Kendrys Morales, who has 25-home run power and could hit in the middle of the Rangers' lineup as a full-time DH while Mitch Moreland assumes the first base job.
Morales was not resigned by the Mariners in the offseason after he declined a qualifying offer and couldn't get any other team to bite on his services. If teams wait until after the June 5 draft, they can sign Morales without surrendering a draft pick and for four months of service, he could be had for a bargain price.
As The Dallas Morning News' Evan Grant reported on Thursday, the Rangers can collect on several insurance policies from injuries to Harrison and Fielder that will give them some extra cash to be able to pursue someone like Morales.
Morales hit 23 homers and drove in 80 runs last season for the Mariners, while playing half his season in Safeco Field, not exactly a hitter's dream environment. In 2012, he hit 22 homers for the Angels and had a career-high 34 homers and 108 RBIs for the Angels in 2009.
The guy's a professional hitter of the highest sorts. He's getting up there in age (31) when you consider his body type, which is kind of Prince Fielder starter kit at 6-1, 220, but he can swing a stick.
Again, you can't really blame the front office if they want to stand pat and throw in the towel for 2014, but it's hard to do that when you have guys like Beltre in your clubhouse grinding every day. A Morales signing would be far from a guarantee a postseason appearance, but if he's good, it could give them a fighting chance.