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01/21/11 9:27 PM EST
Search for righty bat continues without Manny
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers want another offensive bat. They tried to land Jim Thome, but he ended up back in Minnesota.
They turned their attention to Manny Ramirez, only to have him decide on Friday night to head for Tampa Bay after it appeared the Rangers were making a concerted effort to sign him.
The Rangers continue to look and Vladimir Guerrero remains unsigned. The biggest question that remains is if he would be willing to return in a reduced role or if the Rangers decide to go in a different direction. The only thing that remains clear is the Rangers are still looking for offensive help.
General manager Jon Daniels declined to discuss specific players, but acknowledged the club is still looking at possible ways to upgrade and offense is one area in particular. Right now, it seems to be focused on a right-handed bat who could be a part-time designated hitter, allowing Michael Young and Mitch Moreland to share time at first base.
"How does that guy fit exactly, you might not be able to perfectly define it in January," Daniels said. "These things tend to work out. Guys get hurt, guys scuffle, we're looking at all possibilities.
"I wouldn't get caught up in the role. It depends on the individual. Some guys might get added at-bats, it might be where we bring in a guy on a non-roster invite to compete with the guys we have. We're not looking at any one thing, we're looking to make the team better."
Young was the Rangers third baseman last season and Moreland, a left-handed hitter, ended the year as their first baseman. But the situation changed dramatically when the Rangers ended their attempts to re-sign Guerrero and signed free-agent third baseman Adrian Beltre instead.
The Rangers signed Beltre after Young agreed to move into a role of designated hitter and utility infielder. That included the possibility of playing first base, a position he has never played before. But the Rangers are still looking for more offensive help.
Ramirez was a possibility and was interested in joining the Rangers. Instead, he has agreed to join the Rays for what is likely to be a more prominent role than the part-time position the Rangers were offering.
Guerrero, from all indications, is not willing to accept a part-time role ... at least right now. That's why the Rangers seemingly ended negotiations after signing Beltre.
"Those discussions were based in Vlad being an everyday player," Daniels said. "We don't have that role. We hold Vlad in high regard. We'd love to have him on the team, but we don't have the at-bats."
If Guerrero was willing -- at least on the surface -- to accept a part-time role, it might pave the way for a return to the Rangers. Otherwise, the most prominent free agents who could address the Rangers' needs are infielder Troy Glaus and outfielder Jose Guillen. Both are right-handed hitters and that appears to be the Rangers' desire given that Moreland is a left-handed hitter.
"All things considered, a right-handed hitter fits us better," Daniels said. "Moreland is going to hit left-handers in the long-term, but we would like to have the ability to protect him."
The Rangers may not do anything. Daniels professes to be "comfortable" with his team. But the Rangers are clearly interested in another bat and with Ramirez headed to Tampa Bay, the search continues.