Scott Boras held his standard media session during the general managers meetings Wednesday in the lobby of the J.W. Marriott Grande Lakes hotel, where only a power-crazed security guard could slow down the agent as he made a case for his stable of free-agent clients.
Among them are three players the Texas Rangers could potentially target, though Jacoby Ellsbury doesn’t seem to be a fit in an outfield that has two plus defenders in center field. But a case can be made that the offense-starved Rangers need Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo and Kendrys Morales.
Boras said the slugging percentages of Ellsbury (.439) and Choo (.465) dictate that they could be a No. 3 hitter ahead of Adrian Beltre, another Boras client, even though each was a leadoff hitter in 2013.
“They have the power to bat third,” Boras said. “They can drive in 90 runs batting first, second or third. Their offensive thrust is not confined to the top of the lineup.”
Morales, despite a severe leg injury in 2010, is a capable first baseman, Boras said. The Rangers have looked into upgrading that spot already this off-season, but Morales hasn’t played there much since making his return.
Morales, a switch-hitter, has played only 59 games at first the past two seasons while spending much of his time at designated hitter.
“The reason that Kendrys didn’t play first base is because Kendrys is the one who knew how to be a DH,” Boras said. “His metrics at first base are above average. He’s a good first baseman, and there are no indications to say that he’s not.”
The price tag for each player will be in excess of $12 million a year. Each player also turned down a qualifying offer, so the Rangers would lose their first-round draft pick if they signed one of them.
General manager Jon Daniels and Adam Katz, the agent for Nelson Cruz, met Wednesday afternoon, and the Rangers are still in the mix for the free-agent slugger even though his price tag could soar.
Cruz is a power hitter on a market thin on sluggers, not just for this year but for the next two or three seasons. So far, teams haven’t turned away from him because of his suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs.
Ray Davis, one of the two principal Rangers owners along with Bob Simpson, is expected to be unanimously voted in Thursday as the controlling partner during the owners’ morning meeting.
Davis, who will replace Nolan Ryan, met with the ownership committee Wednesday, a step he called a “pre-screening” for Thursday’s vote. An MLB official expects Davis to sail through the vote.