By: Joel Collins
The Mike Napoli departure to Cleveland left the Texas Rangers with a need for a right-handed bat. They responded quickly by signing Justin Ruggiano to a 1 year deal worth $1.65 million. With a very left-handed heavy line up his bat is much-needed and should give Texas more balance and depth. The 33-year-old may see some time at 1st base as well come spring training. He has shown to be an above average hitter against lefties.
Ruggiano is an Austin native who played his college ball in College Station for the Texas A&M Aggies.
He made his debut in 2005 but didn’t get back up to the majors until 2007 under Joe Maddon. Since 2011, he’s hit .261 with 47 homers and a .771 OPS in 403 games as a platoon outfielder for the Rays, Marlins, Cubs, Mariners, and Dodgers.
Ruggiano can play all three outfield positions. This move gives the Rangers another outfield option to use next season along with Josh Hamilton, Delino DeShields, Joey Gallo, Shin-Soo Choo, Ryan Rua and Nomar Mazara.