While speaking to reporters on Monday in Arizona, where the MLB GM meetings are beginning, Rangers GM Jon Daniels made a few things known, including the fact that the Rangers plan to tender Mitch Moreland an offer with hopes of avoiding an arbitration hearing but ensuring the fact that Moreland will be back with the Rangers in 2015.
Moreland's return isn't a huge surprise given the uncertainty of Prince Fielder's neck post-surgery and Moreland's ability to play not only first base at a very high level but also dabble in the corner outfield spots, where the Rangers are currently still trying to fill a void left by the departure of Alex Rios.
Left field is known to be harder to play than right field at Globe Life Park, and the Rangers plan to move Shin-Soo Choo to right field in 2015 with Rios' departure, so it's yet to be seen how much confidence the Rangers would have in Moreland as a left fielder but you can bet he'll be working on that this offseason.
Moreland made $2.65 million in his first year of arbitration eligibility in 2014 and would almost certainly get around $3.5 million in 2015 to avoid an arbitration hearing, which the Rangers have successfully done with their players since 2000. He dealt with a nagging foot injury in 2014 and ended up playing just 52 games while hitting just two home runs after slugging a career-high 23 in 2013.
Moreland at $3.5 million, or somewhere around there, is a good deal for the Rangers to do, especially in the worst-case scenario that Fielder's neck isn't right or he just isn't very good anymore. He could also fit in as a DH and as an outfielder from time to time.