The unsettled free-agent market at times this week seemed to be driving baseball toward labor disharmony, with the players and their agents crying foul and the commissioner essentially telling them they have misplayed their hand this off-season.
With so many still holding cards, those who seemingly have folded are back in the game. That includes the Texas Rangers.
General manager Jon Daniels provided a small opening that suggests the Rangers might be active during spring training in player acquisition. He said that it's his expectation that they won't be in on the top free agents, but they must remain diligent because of the unpredictability of the market so far.
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"I don't think we can rule it out," Daniels said Friday. "Nothing I've said this winter has changed as far as where our goals are, our eye level or our expectations. But given the unusual nature of it ... I'm not sure anyone truly knows what to expect.
"We have to stay open-minded and stay in contact with players. Not just players, but clubs. When these players sign, and I anticipate they will, sort of a secondary angle will be who's displaced in clubs and who has excess. There's opportunity there."
If the Rangers were to strike, it would be for a pitcher. The cream of the crop is still starting right-handers Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta, followed by Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn. Closer Greg Holland is also still available.
Reports suggest that Darvish has multiple five-year offers on the table. The Rangers might not want to play at length, but would be willing to negotiate on fewer years for higher dollars.
The rotation five days before pitchers and catchers report to spring training includes left-handers Cole Hamels, Martin Perez, Mike Minor and Matt Moore. Doug Fister is the lone righty.