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Thursday, July 29, 2010
Go all-in for a bat or make minor move?

By Richard Durrett

ARLINGTON, Texas -- It seemed in last night's in-game chat that many of you feel that the Rangers should make a large move -- maybe not on the level of getting Cliff Lee, but close -- to get a big bat in the lineup.

Prince Fielder's name has been mentioned as possible trade bait. From the folks I've talked to, this seems like a long shot. But as we've discussed, Jon Daniels and his staff are very good about checking into every possibility no matter how remote. Money is an issue when talking about the rest of Fielder's salary for this year and the money he'll command next year, when he is arbitration eligible and expected to be in line for a raise to the $15 million range.

But let's ignore that for a moment (or pretend that MLB gave the Rangers some more money). The larger question, in my mind, is this: How willing are you to part with prime prospects to get a more impactful bat than just a right-handed hitting first baseman that would platoon with Chris Davis?

My answer: Not very willing. It's not that I don't think someone like a Fielder could provide a huge boost to this lineup. I think he could. But the Rangers already gave up an additional prospect (Michael Main) to the Giants so they would pay Bengie Molina's salary. They unloaded Justin Smoak and some mid-tier pitching prospects to bring Lee in here, a move that I think we can all agree was critical to this team's playoff chances. Making those moves, and possibly one more to bring in a right-handed bat that can play first, is why the Rangers built this farm system.

I don't like the idea of trading even more top prospects (like Derek Holland, Tanner Scheppers or Martin Perez, just to name a few) to get that really big bat that could end up on the market. I do, however, think this team needs a right-handed hitting corner infielder. But I would only do that deal if it costs me a mid-tier prospect or a package that doesn't include some of my top ones. It just isn't worth it.

It's easy to look at what this offense has done the last week and hit the panic button. And if, for some reason, the money was there and the Brewers weren't asking for the moon, I could be talked in to someone like Fielder. But I'm hearing they are going to want a lot to put Fielder on the market, and I'm just not interested in going all-in for that.

That's just my opinion. And for those that don't want Davis in the lineup at all, let me remind you that he made two great defensive plays Wednesday that very few first baseman make. So while he may not be producing as consistently on offense as the club would like, he's doing the job on defense. Bring in a right-handed bat to spell him against lefties and see where this team goes. This last week on offense not withstanding, they have the look of a champion (going 4-2 despite not scoring much is proof of that). I wouldn't mortgage too much of the future on a really big bat. I'd get the platoon first baseman for the right price and take my chances.

That's just me. What are your thoughts?