The Texas Rangers’ equipment truck was loaded up Monday morning and ready for its drive to Surprise, Ariz., an annual sign that spring training is near.
Although they have an overflowing roster of 61 players headed to big league camp, the Rangers aren’t necessarily done making moves.
General manager Jon Daniels continues to keep an open mind about bullpen help, especially someone tough on left-handed hitters.
It doesn’t have to be a left-hander, either.
“We’re still looking at some different possibilities, whether that’s a free agent or trade,” Daniels said at Globe Life Park. “It may be something that goes into spring training, where our scouts go out and we get a chance to see how our guys fit, how they look, and how their health is and decide whether or not we need to add.”
In a perfect world, of course, Daniels and manager Jeff Banister would like to add a specialist who can attack the deep pool of left-handed hitters in not only the AL West, but the entire league.
“It’s about performance and being able to get hitters out when you need to get them out,” Banister said. “If you want to comprise your bullpen where it looks pretty with multiple left-handers, absolutely, [that would be ideal]. Bottom line is having the ability to get hitters out, right or left.”
Alex Claudio is the lone lefty reliever on the 40-man roster entering spring training. Other left-handed non-roster invitees include Michael Kirkman and Martire Garcia.
Lefty Ross Detwiler, who joined the club during the off-season, is another candidate, but early signs point to him earning a spot in the rotation.
Daniels ultimately said the priority remains to find another effective arm against the left side of the plate.
“There’s certainly an element we want of makeup, accountability and leadership, but it’s got to be somebody who gets the job done, first and foremost,” he said. “It might be something we address with a non-roster invite before camp, and it may be something we address in camp or something we address during the season.”
Banister and Daniels declined to handicap the spring competition for left field. With Shin-Soo Choo moving to right, the left side is up for grabs.
Ryan Rua, who was impressive in a short stint in 2014, had been the first name mentioned when Daniels discussed options during the off-season. He’s still arguably the strongest candidate to earn the job, but the Rangers are open to a platoon situation, too.
“It might be a situation where somebody ultimately lays claim to the job and becomes a true regular, or it might be a situation where left field, right field, DH — they all kind of fit together and work together,” Daniels said. “That’s where it’s more likely headed, but let’s let it play out.”
Banister said he’d prefer to see Rua and the others — including Jake Smolinski, Michael Choice and Delino DeShields — in person before opining on the position.
“When men have an opportunity to compete, there’s a little different edge about them every day in spring training,” he said. “You get a better sense of who they are, and that’s what I look forward to. It brings out the best in them and it shows some warts along the way, also.
“Competition is our best barometer. [I’m] looking for somebody to put a foot down and take a spot.”
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760