Konerko over Crawford
If you look outside the Rangers organization at free agents who did not play for them this past season, club officials seem to agree that first baseman Paul Konerko is probably the best fit here in Texas.
There are reports that the Rangers are “in” on Carl Crawford. It would be more accurate to say the Rangers have “kicked the tires” on Crawford and are far more “in” on Konerko.
The Rangers like both players. Who wouldn’t.
Konerko is simply the better fit for the Rangers right now, club officials believe.
He is a right-handed hitting first baseman who could also DH. He would be a perfect match for Mitch Moreland at first base. Moreland hits left-handed and can also play the outfield.
Crawford is a left-handed hitter. The Rangers already have three left-handed hitting outfielders in David Murphy, Julio Borbon and Josh Hamilton. Crawford also plays left field, which would force Hamilton to move to center full-time.
Crawford is also not the big bat that the Rangers covet in the middle of the lineup. He is a No. 2 hitter. In fact, over the past four seasons, he has the third most at-bats of any Major Leaguer in the second spot in the order.
Placido Polanco has the most. Michael Young is next. Get the picture.
Actually, if the Rangers did sign Crawford, they would easily find a spot for both him and Young in the lineup. That wouldn’t be a problem. Nor would it be a problem for Hamilton to play center field and left field at the Ballpark demands a top-flight athlete to cover that ground.
But club officials clearly see that Konerko is the better fit for what the Rangers need. The Rangers just need to be prepared to consider all options. If Cliff Lee signs with the Yankees, Konerko goes elsewhere and the Royals decide not to trade Zack Greinke, the Rangers could be sitting with a big bankroll and nobody to give it to.
They could get something done with Guerrero, especially if they satisfy his demand for a two-year deal. They could go with Lance Berkman,
Maybe they go with an outfield of Hamilton, Julio Borbon and Nelson Cruz, leaving Murphy as the designated hitter.
Maybe Borbon becomes the next Carl Crawford.