Where does Yorvit Torrealba fit into this team? With Mike Napoli as the No. 1 catcher, wouldn't the Rangers have been better off trading him?
-- Michael V., Oklahoma City, Okla.
The fact that Napoli is still feeling sore from the left-ankle sprain he suffered in Game 6 of the World Series could be construed as a red flag this injury could continue to linger. It is certainly a reminder of why the Rangers need two catchers. Napoli had a tremendous season in 2011, but he also started just 57 games at catcher. He'll probably start behind the plate more than Torrealba -- unless the ankle soreness is chronic -- but the Rangers' two-catcher system is considered vital to their success.
Does the fact that Roy Oswalt hasn't signed mean there is still a chance for the Rangers to sign him?
-- Craig P., Fort Worth, Texas
Oswalt's case is baffling. He wants to pitch for either the Rangers or the Cardinals because they are near his home in Mississippi, but neither team has an obvious opening in the rotation. The Red Sox would seem to be the perfect spot for him other than the distance away from home. There are other teams with a bigger need for pitching than the Rangers. Still, the Rangers haven't ruled anything out completely, suggesting there is still some uneasiness with the current makeup of the rotation. Otherwise, Texas still doesn't make sense for him other than proximity to home.
Do you think that the Rangers (or any team) will be willing to sign Josh Hamilton to a multiyear contract after his most recent relapse? Even if it were a one-year deal, I would be reluctant to give him more than $10 million. He's a great player, but I don't think he can be counted on when the Rangers need to win a World Series.
-- Darrin K., Red Oak, Texas
Hamilton's relapse was unfortunate. But the No. 1 factor that has to be considered by any team interested in Hamilton is his history of injuries and the fact that he will be 31 in May. That's probably why the Rangers and Hamilton's agent weren't particularly close to a deal before the relapse. If Hamilton has a big year, there will be plenty of teams interested.
Texas has certainly been a great place for him and one could argue that it is in his best interest to remain here. But other teams will certainly be willing to devise a way to protect their investment. The Rangers don't have a monopoly in that regard. By the way, Hamilton -- with a 10th-inning home run in Game 6 -- was three outs away from joining the pantheon of legendary World Series heroes.
Is there still a chance that Koji Uehara could be traded before Spring Training?
-- Mariko T., Los Angeles
It seemed that way two weeks ago and there are still teams looking for bullpen help. The Rangers are still having discussions with other teams and would likely seek either young pitching or outfield help in return. A trade remains a possibility.
Will the Rangers ever get the chance to host the All-Star Game again? I think with their recent success and improvements to the stadium it would be a good time to campaign for it. How does the selection process work?
-- Omar F., Lufkin, Texas
Commissioner [Bud] Selig has the final say in who gets the All-Star Game and, for the most part, it alternates by year between the two leagues. The Rangers last hosted the game in 1995 and there are five American League cities that have waited longer: Minnesota, Baltimore, Toronto, Oakland and Tampa Bay. Kansas City hosts the game this year and it's a good bet that Minnesota will get the game in 2014. Baltimore and Toronto are also ahead of the Rangers. So too are Oakland and Tampa Bay, but Major League Baseball will likely wait until they get new ballparks. The Rangers' turn still may not come until 2020 at the earliest.
Why isn't there Michael Young trade talk like there was this time last year? Why isn't it being pursued now? It's not that I want him gone or anything like that.
-- Shawn B., El Reno, Okla.
The Rangers had interest in trading Young in previous offseasons because they wanted Elvis Andrus to take over at shortstop three years ago and Adrian Beltre to take over at third base last offseason. In both cases, it was uncertain what they would do with Young. But last season showed Young can still be a highly-productive member of the team in a variety of roles and that proved to be invaluable. So, at this point, they are not particularly motivated to move him. If they could have found a team to take his $16 million salary, it would have opened up room for Prince Fielder. But that did not prove to be the case.
I like Elvis Andrus' new contract in terms of salary, but why didn't the Rangers work in some more expensive option years to keep him from hitting free agency at such a young age?
-- Alex M., Carrollton, Texas
Because Scott Boras is his agent. Boras is always willing to find a way to avoid arbitration -- most agents feel the same way -- but is rarely willing to agree to a deal that will keep his clients from becoming free agents at the earliest possible moment.
Whatever happened with the 18-year-old Cuban pitcher that the Rangers were interested in?
-- Ken H., Pea Ridge, Texas
Gerardo Concepcion signed with the Cubs earlier this month.
Say Hamilton gets hurt. Mitch Moreland can carry his load. Say Napoli gets hurt. Can Torrealba and Matt Treanor carry his load? If you say no, that means Napoli is more valuable than Hamilton. Right?
-- Lee R., Shelbyville, Texas
It has been 30 years since taking logic at the University of San Francisco, but it seems a bit of a stretch that Moreland, David Murphy or anybody else can carry Hamilton's load. Moreland has his own load to carry at first base. Treanor, by the way, has already signed with the Dodgers.
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I have a real concern that Neftali Feliz will struggle early in the season because of several factors. How long do you think the Rangers will go with Feliz if he does struggle?
-- Bill M., Amarillo, Texas
Much of that will depend on how the rest of the rotation is doing and how the club is faring overall. If the other four get off to great starts and the club is doing well, the Rangers could show more patience with Feliz. If the reverse is true, the Rangers might lose patience in a hurry. But that might involve several people, not just Feliz. But if Feliz struggles early, it will likely be the result of physical issues that would require a trip to the disabled list.
What do you think the chances are of Brad Hawpe making the team as at least a bench player?
-- Joseph L., Toms River, N.J.
Much will depend on how Moreland recovers from wrist surgery. The Rangers signed him mainly as an insurance policy at first base. Otherwise it could be tough for Hawpe to make the team. The Rangers will carry four players on the bench: Torrealba, Murphy and a utility infielder to be named later. The other spot is wide open. Hawpe, a left-handed hitter, could be a candidate. So could Conor Jackson, a right-handed hitting first baseman/outfielder. Last year, the Rangers used that spot mainly for an extra center fielder so they could have both Endy Chavez and Craig Gentry on the team. This year, it could be Gentry and either Julio Borbon or Leonys Martin.
Wouldn't the Rangers be better off breaking in Yu Darvish gradually through the bullpen rather than thrusting him to the forefront of the starting rotation in a foreign country against hitters the likes of which he has not faced previously?
-- Brad A., Topeka, Kan.
Japanese pitchers in the past have had their best success when they first come to the United States. That may suggest hitters have a bigger adjustment to them than the reverse. Might as well throw Darvish to the wolves right away.
Would the Rangers consider moving Colby Lewis before the season starts to get Alexi Ogando back in the rotation?
-- Ben S., Carrollton, Texas
My first guess suggested that Lewis was most vulnerable to losing his spot when Darvish was signed. That was simply because Lewis can be a free agent after this season. But the Rangers are clearly enamored with the idea of reinforcing their bullpen by switching Ogando back to a relief role, especially since he is willing to make the move.
I recently bought a Michael Young jersey. Is there a chance he will re-sign after 2012, because I want to wear the jersey for a while.
-- Alex P., Richardson, Texas
Young is signed through 2013. Wearing the same shirt for two years is long enough, don't you think?