Having struck out on Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez, the Rangers are still seeking a bat to add to their lineup mix. They don’t want to add a full-timer and push Mitch Moreland out of the lineup, but a complement to provide insurance in case Moreland struggles is a possibility.
Right now, the Rangers are looking at the following lineup:
SS Elvis Andrus
DH Michael Young
LF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Nelson Cruz
2B Ian Kinsler
1B Mitch Moreland
C Yorvit Torrealba
CF Julio Borbon
David Murphy and Matt Treanor are guaranteed two spots on the bench. Another will go to a backup middle infielder, probably Andres Blanco. That leaves one opening.
Ideally, that opening would go to a right-handed hitter, assuming that the Rangers do want to stick with Moreland. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a first baseman, since Young could play there when Moreland sits against tough lefties or maybe all lefties. But it should be a righty, particularly since the team’s other strong bat off the bench is a lefty.
The obvious solution for the Rangers would seem to be Troy Glaus. The other available first basemen (Russell Branyan, Casey Kotchman, Nick Johnson, Carlos Delgado) are all lefties. Vladimir Guerrero wants and deserves to be a regular. Glaus probably would like that, too, but there don’t seem to be any possibilities for him out there right now.
If not Glaus, then Willy Aybar is the next best bet. He’s a switch-hitter, but he has a 785 career OPS against lefties, compared to a 712 mark against righties. He’s coming off a rough year and should be available cheap.
Jose Guillen, Lastings Milledge and Andy LaRoche are some of the other righty swingers still out there.
One last possibility if the Rangers really wanted to swing for the fences: Milton Bradley. The Mariners have to be especially eager to get rid of him after his arrest this week, and he did lead the AL in OPS while with the Rangers in 2008. I doubt the Rangers would take him back on now, but if could recapture a little of that magic from three years ago, he’d be a big asset.