Winter Ball Could Open Opportunities For Young Rangers
General manager Jon Daniels has
said that the Rangers won't be rebuilding this offseason after their
2012 campaign came to an unexpected end with a loss in the American
League wild-card game.
Daniels, though, has a full understanding that the Rangers have seven
free agents to replace, a group that grew by one after the expected
buyout of Scott Feldman's
While the Rangers have shown that they have deep pockets and are
expected to be big spenders this winter, they also plan to give their
top prospects a chance to make the 2013 roster.
To that end, three of those prospects will extend their seasons in the
Dominican League, and the Rangers will be watching shortstop Jurickson
, third baseman Mike Olt
and outfielder Leonys Martin
"We like sending guys to winter ball for a few reasons," Daniels said.
"It's more at-bats and innings to work on your craft, but it's also very
competitive and a great atmosphere. It's a chance to compete against
some pretty good talent."
Olt and Martin opened the season with Licey, and Profar was scheduled to
join them after clearing a few previously scheduled offseason plans.
Also on the roster were outfielder Engel Beltre
and lefthander Chad
Profar, Olt and Martin finished the year in Arlington but played
sparingly down the stretch as manager Ron Washington leaned on his
veterans. They finished with a combined 96 at-bats.
They should easily eclipse that total in 2013. The Rangers want to find
at least 120 games for Profar, their top prospect, and Martin could be
in a platoon in center field if Josh Hamilton
Olt saw time at first base and right field, and needs to improve at
those spots this winter to increase his roster chances. But getting
better is the goal for each Rangers player on the Licey roster this
"It says something about these guys when they're willing to go down
there," Daniels said. "The guys that go down there, it makes a statement
to the organization."
• Lefty reliever Neal Cotts
, who missed out on a big league roster spot
in 2012 because of a lat injury late in spring training and later agreed
to a minor league contract, re-signed on another minor league deal. He
went 2-1, 4.55 over 32 innings with Triple-A Round Rock.
• Righthander Ben Rowen
encountered early struggles in the Arizona Fall
League after a breakthrough campaign with high Class A Myrtle Beach. The
closer, whose submarine style produced a 1.57 ERA and 19 saves in 2012,
had a 7.94 ERA after his first seven games for the Surprise Saguaros.