Mitch Moreland trade rumors: Rangers leaning towards keeping 1B/OF

Nick Laham

The Rays and others have asked about the first baseman, but for now the Rangers do not appear inclined to trade him.

The Texas Rangers are currently planning on keeping Mitch Moreland and using him around the field against right handed pitchers, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. However, he could be moved if the Rangers make another move or receive a good offer.

There had been speculation that Moreland would be available in trade after the Rangers acquired first baseman Prince Fielder from the Detroit Tigers last week. Moreland had been the team's primary first baseman in 2013 and hit a career-high 23 home runs. Over his last three major league seasons, he has hit .253/.312/.437. In his career, Moreland has posted a 752 OPS against right-handed pitching compared to a 701 OPS against lefties.

Moreland has played some outfield over his career as well, and could be used in one of the corners. The Rangers are looking to upgrade their outfield in the offseason with Craig Gentry, Leonys Martin and Alex Rios currently penciled in as the starters. Nelson Cruz is a free agent and may not return to Texas in 2014. The Rangers have been one team looking at Carlos Beltran in free agency and are also eyeing Shin-Soo Choo and, possibly, Jacoby Ellsbury.

The Rays had been mentioned as one possible trade partner for Moreland. They will probably lose 2013 first baseman James Loney to free agency, leaving Sean Rodriguez penciled in at the position. In addition, both the Pirates and Mets have allegedly looked into him and teams like the Brewers and Astros could use a first baseman.

For now, Moreland appears set to enter as a hybrid role for the Rangers, who do not have a clear option to play at designated hitter, either. However, if they sign a new outfielder, Moreland could be further dangled in trade talks as a way to improve other positions.

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