As one Rangers official said, "The Dodgers are probably going to blow us away on that one."The Rangers are actively looking for starting pitching, with Greinke at the top of their free-agent list, and they could also end up trading for a starter. They have talked with the Mets about National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, and they have an interest in the Rays' James Shields.
Dickey, who pitched for the Rangers from 2001 to 2006, has told people he would "love" to come back to Texas.The Rangers, who list Martin Perez as their fifth starter, may look at other free-agent pitchers if they can't land Greinke or make a trade. The list drops off quickly after Greinke, with Kyle Lohse, Joe Saunders and Anibal Sanchez among the best available. The Rangers aren't likely to re-sign Ryan Dempster, who spent the final two months of the season with them after being acquired from the Cubs on July 31. "Starting pitching is an area we're looking at, and we've talked about a few different options," Daniels said. "We're looking at both [trades and free agency], but I can't tell you our chances of completing something." Starting pitching, the bullpen and catching are the Rangers' main areas of focus. Daniels said that the Rangers want to re-sign Hamilton, but if they don't, they'll likely go with an outfield of David Murphy in left, Nelson Cruz in right, and a platoon of Craig Gentry and Leonys Martin in center. There has been speculation that the Rangers might trade shortstop Elvis Andrus, and one rumor that won't die is their alleged interest in D-backs outfielder Justin Upton. But Daniels said the chances of Andrus being with the Rangers on Opening Day are "very strong." Clubs that look at the depth of the Rangers' infield think Texas might trade either Andrus or rookie Jurickson Profar, but Daniels downplayed the possibility. "I'm not saying we won't under any circumstances, but it has to be a unique set of circumstances," he said.
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.