Highlights from Ron Washington's chat

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Rangers manager Ron Washington had his session with the media Monday (all managers meet with the media in a 30-minute session once during the Winter Meetings). Besides talking about Hamilton and Guerrero, which are included in the ESPNDallas.com Rangers blog, he touched on some other topics. The highlights:

* On the importance of getting Cliff Lee back: "Well, I think when you talk of the caliber of pitcher that Cliff Lee is, it's quite important. But will it make or break the Texas Rangers? No, it won't. But we certainly will do the very best we can to make that happen."

* On what Lee did for the club: "It gave us a guy to anchor the front of our rotation, a leader, a guy that's been there and done that. When you look at the results, the rest of our pitchers became better for what Cliff Lee brought there -- tremendous work ethic, gave the bullpen a break each time he took the mound. He was able to influence our young pitchers, and great pitchers, that's what they do. They make other pitchers better, and he certainly made the rest of our pitching staff elevate their game just to keep up. He was a big addition. And I have to commend Jon Daniels, and Nolan Ryan and the Rangers organization for making that happen."

* C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis are definitely in the rotation. The rest of the pitchers must earn a spot. "We've got some depth. We're going to come into spring training, and in Texas you've got to make sure you earn your way."

* At this point, Washington would rather Neftali Feliz close. "I haven't thought about Feliz in the rotation. I've thought about Feliz only gets me three outs at the end of the game. But if it's necessary to bring him into the starting rotation, I can tell you guys right now, we won't hesitate to do it."

* Mitch Moreland will have to earn the first base job when the club arrives in Surprise, Ariz., in February. He's penciled in as the starter, but Washington wants to see him improve. "I just want to see him come in and show improvement in his thought processes, and that may have to do with the cutoffs and relays and being in the right spot, improving his foot work, improving his glove work. Everything that you want to see. We know the type of hitter that he is. We know he has the capability of grinding on at-bats. He will make pitchers throw strikes and all the things that you want to see, he does as far as offense goes. But [there's] more to the game than just offense."

* Washington believes the club needs to have more than 90 wins in 2011 in a competitive AL West. It's a division he believes is underrated.