Rangers notes: Texas weighs losing draft pick against potentially signing Lohse

01/15/2013 11:40 PM

03/24/2013 1:08 AM

Kyle McClellan signed a minor league contract Tuesday and received an invitation to spring training, but he's not the former St. Louis right-hander named Kyle some want to see in Texas Rangers camp.

Kyle Lohse remains a free agent after a season in which he set career-bests in wins, ERA, innings pitched and strikeouts. But he comes with a big black mark, and it's not his age (34), injury history or agent (Scott Boras).

Any team that signs Lohse must forfeit its first-round pick in the June draft to the Cardinals, who offered him salary arbitration.

Even though the Rangers have one of the deepest farm systems in baseball and are receiving a compensation pick for not re-signing Josh Hamilton, the thought of losing their first pick is not appealing.

At least not yet in Lohse's case.

"If it's for the right guy, you do it," general manager Jon Daniels said. "But you've got to factor it in as part of the acquisition cost.

"Under the new CBA, it's more challenging for teams that finish high in the standings to replenish their system than it has been in the past. So we're going to be a little guarded about it."

The current collective bargaining agreement caps how much teams can spend on the first 10 picks. The more picks a team has, the more money it gets to spend.

A cap also has been placed on international signings, an area where the Rangers had flourished before the new CBA was ratified.

With player acquisition more restricted, draft picks and the flexibility created by a larger draft spending pool are coveted. It helped the Rangers last year pay more for their second overall pick, Joey Gallo, than first-rounder Lewis Brinson.

"Having extra picks increases your bonus pool and gives the ability if you value a certain guy -- and others don't -- to acquire him," Daniels said.

McClellan is coming off shoulder and elbow surgery in July but is throwing bullpen sessions. The Rangers expect him to be ready for spring training, where he will work as a starter but also will be a candidate for the bullpen.

The Rangers continue to seek starting pitching even though they are optimistic Colby Lewis will be back by May or June to the rotation spot that McClellan is seeking to fill.

Free agent Shaun Marcum is on their radar as Daniels seeks depth for a rotation that was hit by injuries in 2012.

Harrison says no

Matt Harrison was one of three Rangers who filed for salary arbitration Tuesday, but earlier this off-season he passed on an opportunity to pitch in the World Baseball Classic.

The left-hander said he was approached by Team USA but passed because of the innings workload he amassed last season. Harrison won a career-high 18 games while working a career-high 213 1/3 innings.

He and the Rangers continue to work on a contract extension. Harrison made $3.2 million last season, and the deal he could sign would buy out his remaining two years of arbitration and at least his first two years of free agency.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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