Texas Rangers

June 9, 2014

17-7 rout notwithstanding, Rangers needed Kendrys Morales

Jon Daniels is guilty for not addressing a glaring team need.

The Texas Rangers were well aware that the left ankle of Mitch Moreland, their first baseman by default, was hurting him badly.

Everyone is well aware that the Rangers’ offense is lacking pop, consistency and a No. 3 hitter because of injuries that are threatening to sink their season.

Believe it or not, the Rangers are firmly in the mix for one of the two-wild card spots with just under 100 games remaining.

The Rangers aren’t short on money, either, not with insurance checks coming after season-ending injuries to the high-priced Matt Harrison and the even-higher-priced Prince Fielder.

There was an option available to help the Rangers’ offense, a slugger who plays some first base and could have been had without costing the Rangers their first-round draft pick or one of the prospects the Rangers can’t afford to trade way.

But that option, Kendrys Morales, became a member of the Minnesota Twins over the weekend. He could have been had for just north of the $7.5 million the Twins agreed to give him.

Yet, he’s not with the Rangers filling a glaring need.

“I don’t get it,” one industry source said.

The evidence for not signing Morales is stacked fairly high against general manager Jon Daniels, who, like many defendants, chose to not take the stand Monday.

He was very polite about it, saying he didn’t want to get into the details. Daniels has spoken in the past about how he’s OK with taking the heat that comes his way while he sits by silently, all in the name of keeping the Rangers’ business practices behind closed doors.

That’s fine. It really is.

In his defense, Daniels did dispatched scouts to Miami for a recent Morales workout. He extended a contract offer to Morales, though it clearly wasn’t enough to keep Morales from signing with the last-place Twins.

Maybe Daniels has surrendered this season after watching too many games like the one that unfolded in the finale against Cleveland. Lonnie Chisenhall went 5 for 5, launched three homers and collected a career-high nine RBIs in a 17-7 rout.

Nick Martinez, an early-season hero, gave up eight runs in the first two innings. Long man Scott Baker surrendered nine runs in five-plus innings, and an undermanned lineup that included Daniel Robertson, Luis Sardinas and Donnie Murphy didn’t have nearly enough firepower.

The only two consistent Rangers hitters are Adrian Beltre and Alex Rios.

“If we had our team, we wouldn’t be where we are,” manager Ron Washington said. “I have faith in those guys. We’ve been waiting for Adrian, and Alex has been hitting all year. We’ve just got to help out in that offense.”

Maybe Daniels and the ownership tag-team of Ray Davis and Bob Simpson want to pinch every penny the rest of the way, including all that insurance money, and use it on off-season upgrades.

If things continue to trend the wrong way on the field, the Rangers won’t be able to count on attendance to supplement their 2015 budget.

Maybe Daniels is betting that Moreland will decide against reconstruction surgery and return after the All-Star break hitting like Fielder or Chris Davis to spark the offense en route to a playoff berth.

Moreland will seek a second opinion on his ankle as he attempts to avoid a procedure that would remove him from the lineup for at least three months.

An option for Moreland is to have only the os trigonum bone that has grown behind the ankle bone removed, which would cost Moreland a mere three to four weeks.

While he mulled his next move, the Rangers opted to not make a roster move Monday. Brad Snyder, an outfielder his entire career, was slated to start at first base for a second straight game for Triple A Round Rock, and he could be the choice once Moreland is placed on the disabled list.

Snyder is a left-handed hitter who entered Monday with 18 homers and 51 RBIs.

But he’s no Morales, who is no Albert Pujols or Joey Votto or Paul Goldschmidt. But the switch-hitting Morales would have been a substantial upgrade to the Rangers’ undermanned lineup as the No. 3 hitter and as a first baseman who would catch whatever he could reach.

The simple act of signing him would have given a jolt to those Rangers players who are trying to keep hope alive. Instead, Daniels better hope that some of those players aren’t weighing the evidence against him.

But even an impartial jury would find Daniels guilty for not signing Morales.

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