David Murphy #7 of the Texas Rangers is congratulated by Mitch Moreland #18 after Murphy hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum on September 2, 2013 in Oakland, California. Moreland scored in front of Murphy on the home run. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Knowing Ron Washington like we do, we would never expect him to throw one of his players under the bus or even as much as question him publicly. That's why players love playing for him.
Include Mitch Moreland in that group now, as the Rangers manager defended Moreland and said his time as the Rangers' everyday first baseman isn't necessarily over after another disappointing season in 2013.
While speaking to Norm Hitzges on KTCK The Ticket on Wednesday, Washington said the club isn't ready to give up on Moreland as its first baseman.
"We had a lot of confidence in Mitch Moreland, and yes, he hit 23 home runs, and things didn’t work out the way he wanted it to work out," Washington said. "When you play this game long enough, sometimes you have those kinds of years, but right now today we have a lot of confidence in Mitch Moreland, and as we move to the winter, we’ll certainly continue to send positive thoughts his way and look for a rebound."
Moreland got hot for one long stretch before hitting the disabled list with a hamstring pull in June. When he returned he was ice cold and actually heated up again in September, but not for nearly as long of a time. The options for first base aren't abundant, and the Rangers missed out on Cuban defector Jose Abreu, who signed with the White Sox.
There's been talk about the Rangers moving Ian Kinsler to first base, but that might not be a realistic move. Moreland is a plus defender at first and has shown good spurts at the plate before, but he definitely needs to be more consistent.