Now that we've completed the infield, let's discuss the outfield, bench spots and DH.
Today's position: Designated Hitter
Shortly after the 2010 season ended, the Rangers and Vladimir Guerrero decided not to exercise the mutual option on the veteran slugger's contract. Both sides had agreed to that before the season, as the contract was really designed to allow the team to pay Guerrero $1 million after the season (with the idea that new ownership would be in place and paying that portion, which is exactly what happened).
Guerrero exceeded expectations in 2010. He was signed with the idea that he still had a good year left in him and would be motivated to show he could stay healthy. That's what he did. Guerrero hit .300 with 29 homers and had a team-high 115 RBIs. He played in 152 games, and about the closest he came to an of injury was when a ball he hit in batting practice bounced off the cage and hit him in the eye.
Guerrero did tail off a little in July and wasn't the same hitter in the second half of the season as he was in the first, but he did have some key hits down the stretch. And few in the league were better with the bases loaded than Guerrero. He was 11-for-17 with 25 of RBIs in those situations.
In a memorable Game 6 ALCS at-bat, Guerrero hit a double to drive in the go-ahead runs in the Rangers' series-clinching win over the Yankees. New York intentionally walked Josh Hamilton to get to Guerrero, who promptly delivered the big hit.
When the Rangers signed Adrian Beltre this offseason, they shifted Michael Young to a DH and super-utility role. They spent most of the winter looking for a veteran bat off the bench (they wanted Jim Thome, but he went to Minnesota) and ended up trading for Mike Napoli last week.
General manager Jon Daniels said the Napoli trade won't impact Young's playing time and that the veteran is the club's primary DH in 2011. But you will likely see Napoli play a bunch against lefties (he hit .305 against them last year) either as the first baseman replacing Mitch Moreland or at DH while Young plays one of the positions in the field.
It's a small sample size, but Young has done well as a DH in his career. He's 40-for-103 (.388) with three homers and 22 RBIs.
The move of Young and the addition of Beltre makes the lineup stronger. Young is versatile enough that he can play any infield position (he'll learn first in spring training) and will get a chance to rotate through the infield. He's been a consistent hitter throughout his career, and that shouldn't change.
What do you think of Young as the primary DH?