The Rangers could become serious contenders for Carlos Beltran's services, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. The Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, Royals and Mariners have also been mentioned in whispers about Beltran, but rumors about Beltran and the Rangers really seem to be gathering steam. The Rangers can use the help in their outfield and/or at their DH position, particularly if Nelson Cruz ends up leaving. Here are more notes about the Rangers and Astros.
- The Rangers will not pursue Masahiro Tanaka or Matt Garza this offseason, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets. "We’re not right now looking to give out a big multiyear deal for a starter," says GM Jon Daniels. Starting pitcher Matt Harrison, who missed most of the 2013 season due to injury, tells Wilson he "feel[s] good" about returning to the Rangers' rotation in 2014. If he's healthy, the Rangers don't have a pronounced need for a starting pitcher, with Harrison, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Martin Perez, Alexi Ogando and Nick Tepesch all in the fold.
- The Astros don't expect to trade catcher Jason Castro, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart reports. "I’m never going to say someone is untouchable. But we fully expect Jason to be on our club for a long time to come," says GM Jeff Luhnow. "He’s reaching his peak. He was our All-Star last year. He’s a team leader." Earlier today, it emerged that other teams had been asking the Astros about Castro, who hit .276/.350/.485 in 2013.
- The Astros don't expect to make a big move in free agency this winter, McTaggart writes. Given that the Astros still aren't a contender, they're reluctant to part with the draft pick they would lose if they signed a free agent who received a qualifying offer. They also don't want to commit to long contracts at this point.