The Rays are looking for a first baseman and have talked to the Rangers about Mitch Moreland. A left-handed hitter, Moreland batted .232 with 23 home runs and 60 RBI last season but lost his job when the Rangers acquired Prince Fielder. Moreland is currently the Rangers leading candidate to be their designated hitter.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that the Rangers are considering the possibility of trading closer Joe Nathan. A Major League source confirmed the report saying that it has been talked about a little. The source said, “doubt it happens” but the Rangers will consider it if somebody “really values” him.
The Rangers, according to a source, are checking out every bat with a pulse trying to upgrade their offense. Nathan is signed through this season with an option for 2014. He remains one of the premier closers in the game at age 38.
It’s the season of rumors but this is something the Rangers have tossed about. They are looking at everything.
The White Sox have two scouts at the Rangers game with the Indians on Friday. The Rangers are talking to the White Sox about outfielder Alex Rios. The White Sox have also been scouting the Rangers farm system.
The White Sox are looking for young prospects who are ready to step in at the Major League level. Engel Beltre is starting in left field for the Rangers on Friday. Martin Perez is pitching for the Rangers, not that they would give him up in a trade for Rios.
The Phillies and the Rockies also have scouts here. Both teams remain on the periphery of the playoff race in the National League. The Rockies have Michael Cuddyer, who is signed through next season at $10.5 million. He is 34 and hitting .331 with 16 home runs and 57 RBI. He is .304 on the road.
The Rangers are actively talking with the White Sox about outfielder Alex Rios, according to Major League sources. Rios is hitting .278 with 12 home runs and 48 RBI in 95 games. He signed for next year at $12.5 million so the Rangers would get more than a rental player. The Rangers are looking for another bat and they are also concerned about the possibility of Nelson Cruz getting suspended.
The Rangers are close to acquiring pitcher Matt Garza from the Cubs, according to a source. The deal is not done but Garza is expected to be scratched from Monday’s start with the Diamondbacks. He could start for the Rangers on Thursday against the Yankees. The players involved in previous discussions included third baseman Mike Olt, infielder Luis Sardinas and pitchers Neil Ramirez and C.J. Edwards. The Rangers will likely try to get a second player in the deal. Garza can be a free agent after this season and the Rangers don’t get compensation if he signs with another team.
Apparently a trade for Matt Garza by the Rangers has been held up because the Cubs had some questions about one of the players they were getting in return. According to Major League sources the questions weren’t major but “fair” concerns.
The two sides are considering alternative ways to make the deal. Nothing is imminent. It could happen. It may not, according to sources.,
THe Cubs could also trade him to another team.
No word which player raised the concerns but Mike Olt has been dealing with some vision issues earlier in the season although they appear to have cleared up. Pitcher Neil Ramirez, who has also been mentioned, has had to deal with some minor shoulder issues lately.
The Rangers are among the teams that are having active trade discussions with the Cubs for starting pitcher Matt Garza. The Rangers have placed Ross Wolf in the rotation but they are still hoping to land Garza whether it’s in the next few days or by the July 31 Trade Deadline.
The Rangers are looking for both a starting pitcher and a right-handed pat.
“We could go both ways,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “We’re having active conversations on both fronts. We’d like to improve the club.”
Garza, 30, is 6-1 with a 3.17 ERA in 11 starts for the Cubs and is being pursued by just about every team in need of starting pitching. The Rangers are considered a strong candidate because of their deep farm system.
The Rangers will open the second half with Derek Holland, Wolf and Martin Perez pitching during the three-game series with the Orioles that starts on Friday. Yu Darvish, who threw a bullpen session on Thursday, is expected to come off the disabled list on Monday and there is a strong possibility Alexi Ogando could do the same on Tuesday.
Justin Grimm, who is 2-4 with a 9.91 ERA in his last eight starts, would pitch Tuesday if Ogando is not ready. Otherwise Grimm could end up in the bullpen. Nick Tepesch, on the disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow, has started playing catch again but not close to being activated. Colby Lewis, who pitched 2 2/3 innings on medical rehabilitation assignment Tuesday at Double A Frisco, is unlikely to be an option before the Trade Deadline.
“We’re getting ready to activate two starting pitchers and that will go a long way to getting us back to where we want to be,” Daniels said. “But our goals is more than just being in a good position. We have high goals and expectations and we’d like to reward and help these guys.”
Nolan Ryan, on his KESN 103.3 radio show, suggested that Manny Ramirez could be an option for the Rangers after the All-Star break. Ramirez was 6-for-14 with two home runs in his last three games for Triple A Round Rock and is now off for the All-Star break.
Ryan said when the Rangers start looking around for a right-handed bat, “You have to take him into consideration.”
Ryan also said he didn’t see anything that makes him think Ramirez can’t still hit.
On Matt Garza, the Cubs pitcher who could be traded, Ryan said, “If Chicago actually made him available, you’d have to have a certain amount of interest.”
The Rangers open the second half on Friday against the Orioles.
The Rangers are weighing two options as the Trade Deadline approaches: starting pitching and a right-handed bat.
The Rangers could use another starting pitcher but aren’t particularly enamored with Florida’s Ricky Nolasco. The interest is described as mild at best. The Rangers are still expecting to get Alexi Ogando off the disabled list after the Al-Star break and he will return to the rotation. The Rangers are also encouraged by the progress being made by Colby Lewis and he could be an option by July 31.
Cliff Lee? The Rangers have been told the Phillies expect any team that wants him to take on his full contract and give up significant prospects in return.
The right-handed bat has been a subject of discussion since the beginning of the season but again the Rangers are hoping Jeff Baker will be back after the All-Star break.
The Rangers biggest concern with their offense is Lance Berkman. His right knee is still an issue and he has not produced offensively the way the Rangers expected. He is the one player who will lose the most playing time to Jurickson Profar. Right now the Rangers are starting to surmise their best lineup includes Profar over Berkman.
The Rangers would be interested in Paul Konerko but are operating under the assumption he is not available. They could be interested in White Sox outfielder Alex Rios. Josh Willingham of the Twins could be another target.
The Rangers are interested in trading for Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey. The Mets, who are in a rebuilding mode, are trying to work out a contract extension with Dickey. He is signed for $5 million in 2013 but is a free agent after that. If the Mets can’t work out an extension then they would consider trading him. According to sources, the Rangers are definitely interested in talking more with the Mets at the Winter Meetings.
Dickey was the Rangers No. 1 draft pick in 1996 and pitched for them from 2001-06. It was while with the Rangers that Dickey started working on the knuckleball that sent his career soaring. He was 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA for the Mets this past season, winning the N.L. Cy Young Award.
The Mets have multiple needs but outfield is high on the list.