Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington will leave the shopping at the winter meetings to general manager Jon Daniels and his crew. But the skipper still has a wish list. And on top of it is another power hitter.
"I'd like production," Washington said when asked what he wants. "Probably a middle-of-the-order guy. Run production."
Washington went on to explain that with Leonys Martin set to lead off, barring another signing, he'd rather see the club utilize its resources on someone who can drive in runs from that key portion of the lineup.
Obviously, there are still a few guys on the free-agent market who could do that, but Nelson Cruz has to be close to the top of the list. The Rangers have interest in Shin-Soo Choo, who offers production, but does so from the leadoff spot.
The Rangers met with Cruz's agent on Monday in Orlando, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney. The plan is for the two sides to meet again. Olney notes that the Rangers are comfortable right now with two years and maybe an option for the right-handed hitting outfielder. Cruz wants at least three years. So we'll see when and if this gets done.
If the current team stays basically the same, Washington said he'd use Mitch Moreland in a variety of roles.
"Mitch has played a little outfield. He will play some first base, and Prince will get a spell," Washington said. "He can also slide in the DH spot. So there are still at-bats there from Mitch, and we certainly intend on using them."
The obvious advantage to Cruz is the Rangers know him and know what he can do. But he's 33 years old and the Rangers want to be sure they have what they feel is the right contract length. Cruz has also dealt with his share of injuries, likely the biggest reason Texas would like to keep the contract shorter. Stay tuned.