Yes, the Inbox is back for the offseason. It's hard to maintain during the season, when things can change quickly from day to day. But the Inbox has always been an offseason staple and will be again this winter.
Any word on the Rangers' interest in first baseman Jose Dariel Abreu?
-- Paul S., Arlington, Texas
The Rangers have scouted Abreu, 26, extensively, and he put up some impressive numbers in Cuba. They have definite interest in him, although that doesn't necessarily mean that they will push Mitch Moreland out of the picture. Even with Moreland, the Rangers still need to acquire at least two offensive players this winter at designated hitter and in the outfield. While there are no guarantees with Abreu, the success of Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes has re-ignited interest in Cuban players.
Why would the Rangers make an offer to Nelson Cruz, only to use him as a DH? He is a great player, and they need his bat. He belongs in right field!
-- Debra S., Arlington, Texas
The Rangers also need a left fielder, and Cruz could fit there easily. He has played left field a little more than Alex Rios, although both could switch if needed. There should be a number of teams interested in Cruz this winter. The Rangers are expected to make a $14 million qualifying offer to Cruz after the World Series. If he turns it down, it's a sure sign that his agent knows there is a lucrative multi-year deal out there from another team.
Any chance that during the offseason the Rangers trade Jurickson Profar to Tampa Bay for pitcher David Price?
-- Ryan S., York, Pa.
Price is two years away from free agency. Both Matt Garza and James Shields were two years away from free agency when the Rays traded them, so it wouldn't be surprising if they traded Price as well. If the Rangers were interested, Profar would only be the beginning of the package. The Rays acquired outfielder Wil Myers along with three other prospects from the Royals for Shields. So if Profar goes, so too will a top pitching prospect like Luke Jackson and one of those big bats the Rangers have in the lower part of their farm system.
Will David Murphy be signed for another year with the Rangers? He is a fan favorite, and I would hate to see him go.
-- Teresa H., Wichita Falls, Texas
Everybody respects Murphy, and he was an integral part of the Rangers' success. But he'll likely end up somewhere else in 2014. He would be a good fit for a National League team like the Giants, or a club that could use an experienced player in left field like the Astros.
Shouldn't it be fair to include Yu Darvish in American League Cy Young Award talks? He's leading in just as many pitching categories as Max Scherzer.
-- Andrew C., Lago Vista, Texas
Scherzer is the favorite to win the Cy Young Award simply because he won 21 games and the Tigers were division champions. To the victors go the spoils. As far as the other numbers, Darvish, Hisashi Iwakuma of the Mariners and Bartolo Colon of the Athletics are right there with Scherzer, and nobody else really leaps out. But after watching Darvish in 2013, it's hard to believe that's really what a Cy Young season looks like. As far as the Rangers' Pitcher of the Year, my vote went to closer Joe Nathan.
Will broadcaster Eric Nadel be back next year? I have loved listening to him for years, but he seems to be getting a little more outspoken. Is there a problem between him and management?
-- Aaron N., Abernathy, Texas
No. Nadel remains highly regarded, not only for his broadcasting ability, but also for his integrity. He will be broadcasting Rangers games for many years to come. Fans should not expect any changes in the broadcast teams for 2014, with Nadel and Matt Hicks remaining on the radio and Steve Busby and Tom Grieve on television. The only necessary change is letting the Spanish broadcasters travel with the team.
How do the equipment managers keep the uniforms so clean and bright? Are they paying homage to Billy Mays?
-- Steve C., Lewisville, Texas
No, the Rangers have guys like David Bailes, Brandon Boyd, Lee Martin and other clubhouse assistants putting in 12-16 hours a day doing laundry and attending to all other player needs. The strangest request is still Ken Caminiti wanting a kennel built for his dogs in Spring Training and then paying somebody $100 to go buy dog food and "keep the change."
Do you think there is a chance that Michael Young will retire with the Rangers?
-- Jack P., Crowley, Texas
There is a possibility that Young, who will be 37 in two weeks, will retire after finishing this season as a backup utility infielder for the Dodgers. But he is not talking about it publicly while the Dodgers are in the playoffs. Obviously, there were some hard feelings between Young and the Rangers after he was traded to the Phillies. At some point, that relationship could be smoothed over, and a role could be made available to him in the organization. When it comes to the past, the Rangers are an excessively forgiving organization.
During TV broadcasts, I often hear it said that Rangers Ballpark is a "hitter-friendly" or "unfriendly-to-pitchers" type of ballpark. What does that mean, specifically? Are the outfield fences closer to home plate than average? Are the fences shorter than average? It seems odd to me that such disparity would exist among MLB ballparks.
-- Martin E., Cedar Rapids, Iowa
The Ballpark in Arlington was not built to be a "hitter's park." Club president Tom Schieffer, who devoted three years of his life to building the best possible facility, was hoping it would be a "fair" park for hitters and pitchers. But, because of wind conditions more than anything else, it's always been considered a hitter's park, especially out to right field.
That wasn't the case this season, perhaps because of the weather, the construction changes behind home plate or the Rangers being stronger in pitching than hitting. But the overall slugging percentage at Rangers Ballpark this season was .395, the lowest in the history of the facility. Doubles, triples, home runs, runs scored and just about every other offensive statistic were also way down. It's too soon to tell if this was a one-year aberration or a shift in the way the park plays.
I've tried 1090 AM, and we can't get Rangers games. I live in Granbury, and we do get 105.3 The Fan, which had the Rangers for several years. I don't care who has them, but the Rangers owe it to the fans south of the Metroplex to contract with a station that is capable of broadcasting their games. Seriously, when they moved to 103.3, they promised they'd correct the problem. Well, it's now been nearly three years, and we still can't get the games on radio.
-- Richard R., Granbury, Texas
One of the unique things about doing a Rangers Inbox is rounding up the usual complaints about radio coverage. The only solution offered here is investing in the audio feeds on MLB.com. But the Rangers are aware of the situation.
When I played high school and college baseball in the 1960s, it was considered inappropriate for players and coaches to eat in the dugout. In today's MLB, however, eating in the dugout is commonplace. (Yes, I know it is primarily seeds and nuts, but it is still food!) Why can't they confine their ballpark eating to the clubhouse so the dugout doesn't look like a fast food restaurant?
-- Bob F., Dallas
In the old days, it was tobacco in any and all forms. Not that chewing tobacco has completely disappeared, but it would certainly seem beneficial if sunflower and pumpkin seeds help cut down the use of tobacco. I suppose everybody needs something to curb their nervous energy, especially with many of these games going well over three hours, and hitters feeling the need to step out after every pitch. Pistachios are apparently the next big dugout thing.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger.