The 2015 season was a great one for Mitch Moreland. To sum it up, it was the year we'd all been waiting to see from Moreland — healthy, productive and really, really solid in the field.
It didn't take long before Prince Fielder gave up on the idea of himself being the Rangers' everyday first baseman, shifting his focus to designated hitter and letting Moreland play first. The result was a gold-glove caliber season for Moreland, who committed just four errors on the season.
With his bat, Moreland also did a lot of big talking. Moreland had career-highs in several offensive categories, hitting .278, good for third on the team among regulars behind Fielder and Adrian Beltre, and hit 23 homers to tie Fielder for the team lead. He drove in 85 runs, which was good for second on the team behind Fielder's 98.
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But with all that said, this might be the time to part ways with Moreland, who burst on to the scene down the stretch in 2010 when he was the Rangers' best hitter in their World Series loss to the Giants and had his best year yet in 2015.
Moreland will be up for arbitration for the second straight year this winter, and he'll be set to probably double his $2.95 million salary before hitting full-fledged free agency next year. The Rangers could easily pay him that and ride him out for another year, but he's going to be one of the team's biggest trade chips and in order to get the starting pitching they seem to covet, they're going to have to trade for it.
If the Rangers move Moreland, they'd almost certainly keep Mike Napoli on board to balance the lineup with a right-hander for a left-hander, and then if they felt the need to do platoon Napoli some, they could do so with Fielder from time to time or even with Joey Gallo.
We can't say it'll be wrong if the Rangers decide to hold on to Moreland for one more year and see if he can build on his really good 2015 season. What we are saying, is that it's unlikely he improves on that year and it might just be time to strike while the iron's hot.