With Nelson Cruz and David Murphy postured for free agency after this season and Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus locked up long term, will the Rangers look to move Kinsler to the outfield next season and put Jurickson Profar at second?
-- Bobby Y., Boswell, Okla.
There are many options for the Rangers regarding Profar's future, but the one worth exploring is the possibility he could end up at third base. Texas has Adrian Beltre signed for two more years plus a voidable option for 2016. Profar could stay in his utility role for another year and gradually get more time at third base as Beltre, 34, eases into more of a designated-hitter role at the back end of his contract.
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I really don't see Kinsler going to the outfield. Maybe the Rangers could revisit first base this offseason, or maybe they will discuss him with other clubs. When you see what Dustin Pedroia got from the Red Sox -- eight years, $110 million -- or Robinson Cano will get this offseason, Kinsler's contract would seem attractive to other clubs.
Kinsler is due $57 million over the next four years, plus a club option of $10 million for 2018, with a $5 million buyout. But Kinsler has a partial no-trade clause and could strategically use it to make it difficult for Texas to trade him. He could do so by including the teams both most likely to be in need of his services, and also financially able to afford him.
Profar's entry into the Major Leagues is very similar to Bobby Grich, a former All-Star second baseman for the Orioles and the Angels. He was a huge prospect for the O's circa 1972 -- having played for Dallas-Fort Worth in 1969 -- and broke into the big leagues as an All-Star utility infielder before finally settling in at second base. Grich's early time as a utility infielder did not ultimately seem to hurt his big league career.
Does Nelson Cruz's suspension mean the Rangers won't re-sign him this offseason, or at least make a qualifying offer?
-- David K., Tulsa, Okla.
The guess is the Rangers will make a qualifying offer to Cruz. If he takes it or a deal can be worked out, Texas has its designated hitter for next season. The suspension probably means Cruz won't get the big contract he was hoping for, but this guy still wields a big bat and the Rangers -- and other teams -- should have at least some interest in signing him.
What are the odds of the Rangers getting Matt Garza to sign an extension? If he winds up just being a rental, it seems like they gave up a little too much.
-- Logan L., Dripping Springs, Texas
The Rangers did give up a lot for Garza, and there are those who feel the loss will ultimately be felt in Class A pitcher C.J. Edwards.
There are six former Cy Young Award winners who could or may be free agents after this season: Bartolo Colon, Chris Carpenter, Johan Santana, Barry Zito, Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum. Now, how many of them would you want to sign to a multiyear contract?
Garza is 29, and this will be his best shot at getting a big contract. He has put himself in that position, and among a long and bewildering list of potential free-agent starting pitchers, he is as good as anybody -- and as risky as anybody. Whether Texas re-signs Garza is a decision that will be made after the club sorts through the rest of the current rotation after the season.
The Rangers' rotation next year will include Derek Holland, Yu Darvish and Martin Perez. Matt Harrison should be the fourth starter, provided he makes a full recovery from back surgery. The odds of that are still reasonably good, despite his latest setback.
Alexi Ogando's future as a starter seems murky after the physical problems he's had this season, so right now, Nick Tepesch and Josh Lindblom are the leading candidates to be the fifth starter. Colby Lewis is also a possibility if the Rangers opt to re-sign him. Texas will likely bring Neftali Feliz back as a reliever next year, but that's still to be determined, as well.
Any chance that the Rangers will go after Jarrod Saltalamacchia since A.J. Pierzynski is on a one-year deal?
-- Shawn B., El Reno, Okla.
One thing that has been relatively overlooked this season with the Rangers is how their catching situation has worked out. All right, it hasn't been like having Ivan Rodriguez or Jim Sundberg in their primes, but Pierzynski and Geovany Soto have formed a winning combination behind the plate, especially considering what some other teams have been forced to deal with this season.
Now, Pierzynski and Soto are free agents after the season. Pierzynski's offensive numbers are likely to come in right around what has been normal for his career. But he will be 37 next season. Soto's offensive numbers are low, but he has delivered some big hits lately. Both work well with their pitchers.
Beyond them, Brian McCann and Saltalamacchia are the top two free agents on the market. It's hard to see Saltalamacchia returning to Texas. That bridge appears quite charred in both directions.
Who do you see being called up in September?
-- Sandy R., Oklahoma City, Okla.
Most likely, the roundup of the usual suspects: pitchers Cory Burns, Joe Ortiz, Lindblom and Wilmer Font, catcher Robinson Chirinos and outfielders Engel Beltre and Joey Butler. The biggest drama is if the Rangers can keep infielder Adam Rosales on the roster until September, or if they have to drop him to make room for Lance Berkman.
WBAP 820 AM had such a strong broadcast of Rangers games, I took it for granted. The current radio broadcast fades before I reach my home near Glen Rose. Any chance the organization might go back to WBAP 820 AM?
-- Tommy H., Glen Rose, Texas
The Rangers don't have just one limited station, they have a saturated network of affiliates that should allow anybody to listen to the game anywhere. You can hear the Mighty 1090 out of Plainview while making the long drive from Lubbock to Fort Worth -- stopping at Smoky Brothers Barbecue in Seymour along the way. However, some of us won't be making that drive much longer, knock on wood.
Is it me or is The Ballpark in Arlington the most heavily advertisement-covered ballpark in baseball?
-- Keith G., Hamilton, Texas
All of the ballparks are like that. Once they started putting ads on the Green Monster at Fenway Park, nothing else has been spared. One day, the Hall of Fame will probably induct the genius who invented the rotating signage behind the batter that's omnipresent during the broadcasts.
What's it like to fly on the Rangers' jet? Do they get barf bags and Sky Mall magazine, too?
-- Steve C., Lewisville, Texas
The bags are standard equipment everywhere. Not sure about the Sky Mall magazine, but there are plenty of amenities on the Rangers' charter to keep everybody happy. Unlike the rest of us, they also don't have to worry about decreasing leg room, spending $8 with a credit card on a bag of chips or waiting forever for first-class passengers to stow their luggage, hang up their jackets and order their drinks before they stop blocking the aisle.
If Elvis Andrus has to wear the mouthpiece, can he not keep it in his mouth? Very distracting, and maybe it's hurting his hitting!
-- Sherry C., Waco, Texas
Miami Heat fans have the same complaints about LeBron James and how it hurts his game.