OAKLAND -- With two weeks to go before the Trade Deadline, three things are clear as far as the Rangers' position.
1. They are still hoping that their starting pitching will be good enough so that they won't have to make a blockbuster trade. Getting Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz healthy are paramount to the process, and the Rangers are still evaluating Roy Oswalt.
2. They are aggressively staying on top of the trade possibilities in case they decide to make a move.
3. They will not hesitate to make a move because they remain committed to a "win now" mode.
"We're in the same spot as before," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "We're getting healthy. We're getting Lewis back, we're getting a couple of [relievers] back in Oakland and Feliz is doing well. That's the biggest thing, getting all our guys back and getting a good read on them.
"Beyond that, we're always open if there is an opportunity to improve. But we're still in the same spot. I'm hoping we won't need to be real active because our guys are healthy and producing."
Daniels declined to discuss any specifics, but the Rangers know what's out there. They know that Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels and Brewers right-hander Zack Greinke are the two potentially biggest pitching prizes on the trade market. They are scouting and monitoring both. They know that the Cubs could move right-handers Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza.
The Rangers have strong interest in Hamels, knowing he would be a clear upgrade. They also know that the competition will be fierce. Two years ago they landed Cliff Lee from the Mariners for first baseman Justin Smoak, infielder Matt Lawson and pitchers Blake Beavan and Josh Lueke. A comparable trade this time around would be infielder Mike Olt, infielder Hanser Alberto and pitchers Justin Grimm and Johan Yan.
Both Hamels and Greinke are eligible for free agency at the end of the year. If the Rangers acquire one of them and then lose them to free agency, as they did with Lee, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement prevents the club from receiving Draft-pick compensation. Players have to be with a club for a full season in order to be subject to compensation.
That would unlikely deter the Rangers. Their goal is to win the World Series, and they would not fret over the lack of a Draft pick if they felt a particular player will help them achieve that goal.
Right now, the Rangers are trying to determine whether what they currently have is good enough to achieve that goal. If they decide it is not, they could get aggressive very quickly.