The baseball off-season is a time for most fans to head on over to the NFL, NBA, or other winter activities, but for the die-hard baseball fan the winter is best spent studying and observing the Hot Stove Reports. The rumor mill is a very active spin machine and at times becomes as gossipy as a high school cafeteria, but the excitement of tracking free agents to your favorite team is sometimes overwhelming.
Catcher- Brian McCann (his option was exercised by Braves and traded to Rangers, but unknown for whom). His backup is unknown.
First Baseman- Adam Laroche, Mitch Moreland, Michael Young, Nick Swisher
Second Base- Jurickson Profar
Shortstop- Michael Young (Andrus was traded to Tampa for James Shields)
Third- Adrian Beltre
Left Field Ian Kinsler, Justin Upton, and David Murphy (Upton was traded to Texas three different times with Texas giving up Mike Olt and a U-Haul full of prospects)
Centerfield- Jacoby Ellsbury, Craig Gentry, Leonys Martin (Ellsbury came over to TEX in the Derek Holland trade)
Right Field- Nick Swisher, Nelson Cruz, David Murphy
DH- Michael Young,
SP- Zach Greinke
SP- Yu Darvish
SP- James Shields
SP- Matt Harrison
SP- Alexi Ogando
**Colby Lewis returns possibly in July
RP: Koji Uehara (re-signed)
RP: Joakim Soria
RP: Robbie Ross
CL: Joe Nathan
**Feliz returning possibly in July
Assuming all of this happened, the Rangers might have had the busiest off-season in MLB history. It goes without saying that some of the players will be traded away if they bring in a newer, shinier piece (Moreland, Kinsler, Murphy, etc), but my point wasn’t to guess this roster. When the dust settles on the Ballpark in Arlington, Jon Daniels will have signed 5 FA’s, traded for 3 perennial All-Stars and was forced to bring Michael Young back to SS in the final year of his contract and possibly his career. The team’s payroll will probably be in the neighborhood of 200-220 MM for 2013 with glaring holes in the bullpen and shortstop.
This was obviously just for fun and doesn’t have any hidden agenda on free agent signings or trades, but it can serve as a cautionary piece to the TMZ like fashion of following free agency. The Texas Rangers historically have not been linked to all free agents in their past like they are now, so a lot of the rumors get magnified here more than other cities. Just enjoy the daily whispers and opinions of beat writers, but as always trust JD, his staff, and their vision for this team.
Jeff Johnson is a Staff Writer for ShutDownInning. He can be reached at Jeff.Johnson@ShutDownInning.com or on Twitter @Houstonhog.