The search for a manager has kept the Texas Rangers from tending to their large pile of other off-season business, but they have started to take care of some of it as the interview process comes to a close.
The Rangers have informed right fielder Alex Rios that they won’t pick up their $14 million option on him for 2015, and instead will pay him a $1 million buyout.
The move will allow the Rangers to move Shin-Soo Choo to right field, where he is more comfortable than in left field, and give them some financial flexibility as they build the 2015 club.
Injuries sank Rios’ season after a two-month hot streak that had him among the American League’s top hitters. But a sprained ankle and a bruised thumb in the second half dropped Rios’ average to .211 after the All-Star break. He hit .305 in the first half.
The Rangers have also moved toward replacing hitting coach Dave Magadan, who has another year left on his contract. He could return, but he has been given permission to seek another job and has talked with both New York teams.
The Rangers have received permission to interview Oakland hitting coach Chili Davis but will do so only if Magadan leaves, said a club official.
The search for a new manager, who could be announced Thursday or Friday from a three-man group of Tim Bogar, Jeff Banister and Kevin Cash, has also kept the Rangers from pursuing their own free agents.
They have had no significant dealings with right-hander Colby Lewis or lefty Neal Cotts since the season ended.