ESPN.com's Buster Olney came up with his offseason questions in his blog today and No. 2 features the Rangers. Here it is:
How are the Texas Rangers going to respond to what the Angels did?
Texas is loaded with television money and deep-pocketed ownership and increased attendances, and the club is stacked with talent in the majors and the minors. The Rangers are actually good enough that even if they didn't make a single move the rest of the offseason, having already signed Joe Nathan for their bullpen, they might still go into the spring as favorites in the AL West.
But rival executives around baseball figure they will do something. They are widely expected to be among the biggest bidders for Yu Darvish this week. They have talked with the Oakland Athletics about Gio Gonzalez and Andrew Bailey. They could load up on their bullpen by working out a deal with Ryan Madson.
And then there is Fielder. President Nolan Ryan has said repeatedly that he doesn't see the Rangers being a fit for the first baseman, but all around the majors, Texas is viewed as the most natural option for the slugger, who would fit them in so many ways. Like Pujols, Fielder might be better served signing with an AL team because as he gets older, he could transition into a designated hitter.
Think about the incredible lineup Texas might field with Fielder on board:
2B: Ian Kinsler
CF: Josh Hamilton
DH: Michael Young
1B: Prince Fielder
3B: Adrian Beltre
C: Mike Napoli
RF: Nelson Cruz
LF: David Murphy
SS: Elvis Andrus
Fielder might drive in 140-150 runs a year in that lineup, on that team, and he would likely really enjoy being part of that group, which is similar to the excellent culture that the Milwaukee Brewers developed.
But will the Rangers write the check, as they engage the Angels in an AL West version of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry? We'll see.
As we discussed earlier this morning, a Fielder acquisition is intriguing. But it's also very costly and has ripple effects beyond this season with more players than just Fielder. And this team won't simply do something just to counter the Angels -- nor should they. But folks around the league do expect the Rangers to check into anything and everything in regards to improving the club and Fielder certainly does that. Here is Olneys' entire blog (insider).
As for Yu Darvish, we'll take a look at him on the blog this week (teams have until Wednesday afternoon to put in a posting bid).
What are your thoughts on Olney's lineup?