The need for left-handed hitting could increase for the Texas Rangers if Josh Hamilton doesn't return. Texas still wants Hamilton back and will talk with his agent, Mike Moye, to see if that's possible. But if the left-handed hitting 2010 AL MVP goes elsewhere, it leaves not only a huge offensive hole, but it's a key left-handed bat that's not in town anymore.
So expect to see the Rangers connected with some of left-handed hitting free agents this offseason, ones that would likely cost less than Hamilton. One name that's already popped up at the GM meetings is Adam LaRoche. FoxSports.com reported Wednesday that the Rangers have some interest in LaRoche.
The 33-year-old first baseman would give the team more power and production at that position, something they've lacked, frankly, since trading Mark Teixeira in the summer of 2007. He was healthy in 2012 and played well defensively, winning the NL Gold Glove at that position. He hit .271 with 33 homers and 100 RBIs in 154 games. He's the type of hitter that has power, but can strikeout.
ESPN.com's Keith Law adds in his look at the top free agents that he'd "love to have him for one year, would be content with two years and would jump into the Potomac River before giving him four."
The Nationals offered LaRoche the one-year, $13.3 million deal, but he's likely to reject that to get a multi-year contract.
"I think we all feel like the ballpark probably favors left-handed hitters or somebody that drives the ball the other way from the right side," CEO Nolan Ryan said Wednesday. "I think if you have an opportunity to pick up a left-handed power guy, you’d have to look at it."
Other left-handed hitters on the free agent market:
OF/1B Nick Swisher (he's a switch-hitter with more power from the left side)
LF Melky Cabrera (but do you take a chance on him after his suspension for testosterone use)
CF Angel Pagan (switch-hitter)