Originally written December 21, 2012 on hardballchat.com:
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The Texas Rangers have had to sit back and watch the likes of Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli sign with the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox, all while making little noise themselves this offseason. That is unlike the Rangers of the past few Winters, as they have been one of the more active teams in free agency, having signed players such as Adrian Beltre and Yu Darvish. But we all knew that Texas was not going to watch all of these departed big bats leave without replacing any of them. While there is still time for the Rangers to do much more over the next couple of months, Texas finally added a replacement to its lineup by signing catcher A.J. Pierzynski to handle the primary duties behind hoke plate. Pierzynski will more or less take over for Mike Napoli, especially in the batting order, provided he can some close to replicating his career high stats from 2012, in which he hit 27 home runs and drove in 77 runs for the Chicago White Sox. Pierzynski will catch most games, while serving as the designated hitter when Geovanny Soto spells him behind the plate. He will still have to pass a physical before the announcement is made official, but the 15 year veteran should have no difficulty doing so, as he is coming off one of his best ever seasons in the big leagues. Texas was not comfortable going with Soto as its everyday catcher, as they had also looked into acquiring other players before meeting with Pierzynski. Of course, the Rangers still have some work to do if they are to fully come close to replacing the production they lost with the departures of Hamilton and Napoli. While Pierzynski may very well be able to take over for Napoli and pick up where he left off, there is simply no one player the Rangers can sign to replace Hamilton. Texas could look into acquiring Nick Swisher to start to make a dent in making up for some of the power numbers vacated when Hamilton signed with the Angels, but even he may only hit half as many home runs as Hamilton, while driving in far fewer runs as well. After being the powerhouse of the American League West for a few years now, the Rangers may need to hand over the crown to new team in 2013.   The post MLB Rumors: Texas Rangers Finally Replace A Departed Big Bat And Sign A.J. Pierzynski appeared first on Hardball Chat Baseball Blog.
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