The Texas Rangers appear to be in pursuit of free agent designated hitter Kendrys Morales, as sources tell the Dallas Morning News' Evan Grant that the Rangers "are among those in the mix" for the slugger. Morales' market had been on hold as teams awaited for him to lose his draft pick compensation, but with the first two days of the draft now past us, teams no longer have to worry about forfeiting a pick. Jon Heyman reported yesterday that Morales was likely to sign within the next couple days.
Having dealt with an exponential series of injuries this year, the Rangers could sorely use Morales' bat to stay in contention. The club entered the season with a franchise-high $133.5 million payroll, however, as Grant notes, they could receive about $8 million back via insurance claims on Prince Fielder and Matt Harrison. That $8 million would likely cover the entire cost of signing Morales, whose best case scenario is the same deal that Stephen Drew got from the Red Sox last month. Considering his liability in the field and essentially one-dimensional game, Morales is a good bet to get less than the prorated amount of the qualifying offer ($14.1 million) he declined last fall.
Morales hit .277/.336/.449 with a 123 OPS+, 23 home runs, and a 2.8 WAR in 156 games with the Seattle Mariners last season. With the Rangers, he would figure to slot in as their everyday DH, putting less pressure on Mitch Moreland and allowing Texas to move Michael Choice (.211/.290/.336) out of the starting lineup.
The Rangers are currently right at .500 with a 30-30 record, though their -27 runs differential suggests a much worse team. Currently in fourth place in the AL West, the Rangers appear to have been left behind this season by the Mariners, Angels, and Athletics, who may very well be the best team in baseball.