Texas Rangers

Moreland could be closing in on Red Sox deal

First baseman Mitch Moreland’s seventh and apparently final season with the Rangers ended with him hitting 22 homers and winning a Gold Glove.
First baseman Mitch Moreland’s seventh and apparently final season with the Rangers ended with him hitting 22 homers and winning a Gold Glove. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

First baseman Mitch Moreland could be on the cusp of signing with the Boston Red Sox after spending the first seven seasons of his career with the Texas Rangers and capping his stay with a Gold Glove.

A source said that the Cleveland Indians were also still in the mix but believed that the Red Sox were the clear front-runner. Moreland would fill two needs for Boston, which needs a first baseman and a left-handed bat.

Moreland, 31, made his big-league debut in 2010 after the Rangers traded Justin Smoak as part of the Cliff Lee deal and became the regular first baseman over Chris Davis. Moreland connected for a home run in the franchise’s first World Series win later that year.

110 Career home runs for Mitch Moreland, 45 of them the past two seasons

The Rangers chose Moreland over Davis to be their first baseman in 2011 when the traded Davis to Baltimore, and Moreland battled injuries while never quite turning his raw power into the potential the Rangers saw.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said there are several free agents, including some 2016 Rangers players, who would fit their outfield needs (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).

He missed most of the 2014 season after reconstructive ankle surgery and returned in 2015 to post the best season of his career. In only 132 games, he swatted 23 homers with 85 RBIs and a .278 average, all career-highs.

Moreland connected for 22 homers in 2016 but saw his average dip to .233. His defense, though, kept him on the field, and he was rewarded last month with the first Gold Glove of his career.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said on Sunday that the Rangers are likely to fill the void at first base internally, with Ryan Rua, Jurickson Profar and Joey Gallo as candidates.

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