Today's topic: What's next for the Rangers?
Well, that was certainly a humongous trade to kick off the offseason, wasn't it? A blockbuster a few weeks before the winter meetings. But that doesn't mean the Rangers are finished. Far from it.
Prince Fielder gives Texas that middle-of-the-order power bat they need. But it doesn't solve all of their offensive woes. The team needs more help there, and general manager Jon Daniels knows it.
"We'd still like to add to the offense," Daniels said. "I think that's probably still our top goal, our top objective, but we’re open to any way we can improve the team. There may be an obvious name, but it also may be more of adding depth and filling out the club."
The Rangers need a left fielder. They need another catcher. Daniels said Fielder will be the club's regular first baseman, so there's still an opening at DH. Plenty of spots to plug in big hitters.
One thing we know about the Rangers: Don't count them out on anything. This trade means they don't have to go after Robinson Cano, for instance. But it doesn't have to keep them from doing so, either, depending on where the bidding ends up. Brian McCann is still out there, but now that Fielder is at first base, that alters things a bit. Still, McCann could catch and play DH if Fielder is at first. Again, certain deals and free agents may seem unlikely, but don't ever dismiss the Rangers.
Texas must figure out a role for Mitch Moreland or see what it can get for him on the open market.
Outfield remains a need for this team. Shin-Soo Choo could add to the lineup. Jacoby Ellsbury seems unlikely in that the Rangers probably don't want to pay the premium for a guy that can play center field when they have Leonys Martin.
But picking up another bat remains on the Rangers' front-office radar. Daniels added that he won't ignore the pitching, but for the first time in a long time, the Rangers are in solid shape there. They have to fill some bullpen holes, but the closer spot likely goes internally with Tanner Scheppers and Joakim Soria the leading candidates. They could always use some starting pitching depth, but as they sit here a week before Thanksgiving, the rotation is set with Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Martin Perez and Alexi Ogando.
So stay tuned. The Rangers aren't finished yet. Keep in mind that the $30 million they are getting from the Tigers isn't going into the budget now. It's to defray the cost of Fielder's salary from 2016 through 2020, and Daniels said the payments don't start coming until then, either. But ownership stepped up to increase payroll for the Fielder trade. Will it do it again? Get ready. The offseason is just beginning.