With the signing of Berkman the Rangers now have a more “proven” DH than they did with Mike Olt. The conventional wisdom was that, prior to the Berkman signing, the Rangers were going to let Olt and Mitch Moreland DH and there was a possibility of moving Ian Kinsler to 1B and letting Jurickson Profar play 2B. However, this changes all of that. It appears the Rangers will keep Kinsler at 2B, Moreland will stay at 1B, and Profar and Olt may start the season at AAA, along with Leonys Martin.
Berkman is clearly the better option going in at DH. Olt was only 5 for 33 last season with the Rangers, but I don’t like the idea of keeping Kinsler at 2B and leaving Profar off the big league roster. I think Profar has a ton of upside, and I’m not convinced that this isn’t going to be a rebuilding year for the Rangers given their lack of off-season moves. The front office still seems to think they are going to be playing for the pennant, and I like that attitude, but I think at some point during the season we are going to have to decide whether or not to bring Olt, Profar, and Martin back up and get them some real big-league experience.
I’m sorry, but I’m just not convinced that the Rangers are going to have the pitching to beat out the A’s or the Angels for the division. Derek Holland, Colby Lewis (if he’s healthy), and Matt Harrison are going to have to show much more consistency, and there’s a wild card at the #5 spot with Ogando, Feliz, or whomever they get into that spot at some point (maybe even Robbie Ross).
The good news is, they filled a gaping hole at catcher with A.J. Pierzynski (even though he’s a douche bag). So, that spot in the lineup will no longer be a given strike out like it was last year. I think it’s all going to depend on pitching. If the pitching is not consistent we will probably be looking at the team in July and saying, “Let’s try to get Profar, Olt, and Martin in for some real long-term work.” If that’s what it comes down to, I’d be fine with that, as long as, the management notices that is where we are and makes the right decision to do it. Because in a season or two, I think those three guys (if they meet expectations) will take this team to another World Series.