Rangers don't appear done looking for relievers

Rangers don't appear done looking for relievers

Rangers don't appear done looking for relievers
ARLINGTON -- Joe Nathan wore No. 36 with the Twins. He will have a 63 on his back with the Rangers.

Texas is not ready to give out No. 36 just yet. That belonged to C.J. Wilson, and the Rangers say there is still a possibility he could wear that uniform again -- even though recent events suggest otherwise.

"We're comfortable with the rotation we have now, but if there is something out there that will make us better, we'll look at it," said general manager Jon Daniels.

The chances of Wilson returning to the Rangers seemed to dim when the club signed Nathan to a two-year, $14.5 million contract to be their closer. The signing allows Texas to move Neftali Feliz from the bullpen to a rotation that will also include Alexi Ogando, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland and Colby Lewis.

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MLB.com takes a glance at each position entering the Hot Stove season.

SP: Plenty of mid-tier arms
RP: Closers flood market
1B: Pujols, Prince elite
2B: Thin but reliable
3B: Aramis the lone big bat
SS: Attention on Reyes
OF: Bargains available
DH: Ortiz the top target
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But the Rangers are not ruling out re-signing Wilson if it is a deal that makes sense to them. That would give them extra starting pitching that club officials said could lead to a trade at some point later in the winter or in Spring Training.

"When was the last time the Texas Rangers had too much pitching?" Daniels said.

The Rangers are only interested in somebody who would clearly fit at the front end of a rotation. They are not interested in a middle-of-the-rotation starter. That would limit Daniels' options to Wilson, possibly Mark Buehrle, or Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish if he decides to jump to the United States next year. That decision hasn't been made yet.

Wilson appears to be the most coveted free-agent starting pitcher on the market. The southpaw and his agent, Bob Garber, met with the Angels on Monday night in Southern California and could meet with other teams after Thanksgiving.

Daniels spoke with Garber on Monday to let him know the Rangers were going to sign Nathan and move Feliz to the rotation. The two sides could meet again either next week or at some point during the Winter Meetings, which run from Dec. 5-8 in Dallas.

Wilson said Tuesday he was not prepared to discuss his situation publicly because "it is still early in the process."

The Rangers may or may not acquire another front-line starter, but they are still looking for bullpen help -- even after signing Nathan. Texas still needs left-handed relief, and could re-sign Darren Oliver. Another hard-throwing right-hander to go with Mark Lowe, Mike Adams and Koji Uehara is also a possibility, and the Rangers have interest Frank Francisco, who used to call Arlington his home.

"We're focused right now on the bullpen," Daniels said.

The Rangers are not focused on first base. Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder remain the two highest-profile free agents, but so far, the Rangers continue to express their faith in Mitch Moreland as their first baseman in 2012. They have not completely ruled out getting involved with Fielder or Pujols, but they are expressing the opposite view. The club remains confident in Moreland, who was limited in the second half and the playoffs with a strained left wrist.

"Mitch is the guy," Daniels said. "The big thing is making sure his wrist is 100 percent. Assuming it is, it's his job. We're going to check out everything, but we're comfortable where we're at."

The other free agent that has a number of clubs intrigued is Cuban outfielder Yeonis Cespedes, a 26-year-old defector who could have the ability to make an immediate impact in the Major Leagues next season. The Rangers have scouted him but aren't likely to be willing to meet his high price. He is reportedly looking for a Major League contract worth between $35-50 million.

The Rangers appear content with their outfield situation -- although they could look into the kind of veteran depth that Endy Chavez gave them last year. A more pressing concern is finding a utility infielder who can play shortstop.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.