Big names continue to circulate the rumor mill at the winter meetings, and the Texas Rangers continue to have interest in one of the top remaining hitters.
But they also have been keeping tabs on the next tier of available batters in case outfielder Nelson Cruz doesn’t re-sign, and they have also taken steps to find a right-handed bat to pair with Mitch Moreland at designated hitter.
The Rangers have targeted free agents Michael Morse and Corey Hart, who didn’t play in 2013 because of a knee injury, and could explore a trade for Miami outfielder Justin Ruggiano, a native Texan.
That market is moving, too, and the Rangers are trying to keep pace.
“You’re starting to see that move a little bit,” general manager Jon Daniels said.
Daniels, though, said there was no movement Tuesday with Cruz after meeting with his agent, Adam Katz, on Monday. But the Rangers remain highly interested in retaining the slugger and don’t feel he owes the Rangers a discount because he was suspended 50 games last season during the heat of a playoff race.
“He had a decision to make,” Daniels said. “I think one of the by-products of that decision was that it impacted the club. There’s no two ways around that. But we all understood the position he was in. I can’t speak for everybody, but I don’t view it that way. I don’t think he owes us.
“I think he likes being here. He may factor that in. It’s been an overall positive relationship over the years. I don’t think one side owes the other.”
But they have deemed the other pre-eminent free-agent outfielder, Shin-Soo Choo, as too expensive. One source said that he is seeking a deal similar to the seven-year, $153 million contract Jacoby Ellsbury signed last week.
Arencibia deal official
A fresh start after a tough season in Toronto and a chance to go to the playoffs helped convinced J.P. Arencibia to sign a one-year deal with the Rangers as the backup to catcher Geovany Soto.
Arencibia passes his physical Tuesday in Arlington, where he has had plenty of success at the plate. In 11 career games over 43 at-bats, he has hit seven homers at Rangers Ballpark.
“I don’t know what it is,” he said. “But whatever it is, I’d like to bottle it up.”
Arencibia batted only .194 last season, struck out 148 times and took only 18 walks. But he swatted 21 homers and gives the Rangers two catchers with power bats and a dedication to getting pitchers through games.
“The catching thing for me is whatever it takes for us to win,” Arencibia said. “I’m going to try to work with Geo every day and put the best team out there and help our pitchers the best we can.”
Angels trade Trumbo
Desperate for starting pitching, the Los Angeles Angels sent power-hitting first baseman/outfielder Mark Trumbo to Arizona in a three-team trade that produced promising left-hander Tyler Skaggs from the Diamondbacks and lefty Hector Santiago from the Chicago White Sox.
The deal leaves the Angels with three lefty starters in a division that has seen the addition of Prince Fielder and Robinson Cano this off-season. Skaggs and Santiago each beat the Rangers in 2013.
Trumbo had career-highs in homers (34) and RBIs (100) this year but batted only .234. He has 11 career homers in three seasons against the Rangers.
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