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Friday, November 30, 2012
Club not afraid to put youngsters in key spots

By Richard Durrett

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Depending on how things go this offseason, which should really heat up next week in Nashville at the Winter Meetings, the Texas Rangers could be relying on a group of young players to handle critical roles on the 2013 club.

The biggest name of that group is Jurickson Profar, considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball. The club must decide if he's an everyday infielder in 2013 and what alterations are made to the lineup because of it. Read more on that here.

“We may go that way, but we haven’t set that in stone,” general manager Jon Daniels said Thursday about going with Profar. “It’s still up in the air. It’s a possibility. It’s something we’ve talked a decent amount about. Some of that depends on other things we have going on. We do feel he’s capable of doing that.”

But there are other young players besides Profar that could see extended time. Leonys Martin could end up as one of the club's center fielders, Martin Perez could compete for the No. 5 rotation spot should a big-name free agent like Zack Greinke allude the Rangers and others -- like Tanner Scheppers and Mike Olt -- could find roles as well.

General manager Jon Daniels said Thursday that the club's developmental system has yielded key players for the club right now and other pieces that were traded to help the club.

"Now we’re back to a point where we need our system to produce for us. We think they will," Daniels said. "We believe in these guys. One of the benefits we have is that we have such a good clubhouse culture, such a good atmosphere that Wash and veterans on the team have established, it gives you a comforting feeling to introduce these kids there. You’re going to watch Adrian Beltre and watch these guys and learn the right way to do things.

"The young players are going to play for us because we think they have the ability to help us win. In 2006 and 2007, they were playing because we needed to find out about guys. The guys that are out there now are there because they can complement the core and ultimately become part of the core."

Of course, much of this depends on what the club does this offseason. But the team is confident enough in its young players that it has some internal options should the landscape this offseason change and they aren't able to fill all of their needs via free agency or trades.