The Rangers are “making progress” in talks with a yet-unknown right-handed hitter, reports Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. That hitter isn’t Mike Napoli, Grant hears, and while he initially noted that the Rangers have some interest in Steve Pearce, he’s since tweeted that it’s not Pearce, either. Ideally, the Rangers want a player that can handle first base and also spell Josh Hamilton in left field against left-handed starters, Grant notes. There aren’t many right-handed first base/outfield types on the market at present, though I wonder if Ryan Raburn could be of interest in such a role, provided he can prove capable at first.
A few more Rangers notes…
- General manager Jon Daniels “hasn’t been motivated” by any of the trade talks he’s had regarding Mitch Moreland, per Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (links to Twitter). Wilson adds that if the Rangers are to make any trades, they’ll likely trade away prospects or Major League relievers rather than dealing from their core of position players or starting pitchers.
- Wilson also reports that the Rangers are among the teams with interest in right-hander Tony Barnette — a former D-backs farmhand that broke out as a dominant closer with Japan’s Yakult Swallows in recent seasons. Yakult set a $500K posting fee on Barnette, and MLBTR reported recently that five teams were in the mix for his services. Daniels confirmed the interest to Wilson tonight when speaking to the media.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Rangers checked in with the Orioles on Matt Wieters after Wieters accepted the one-year, $15.8MM qualifying offer. Wieters, of course, would’ve had to approve any trade proposal that may have arisen (as is stipulated by the CBA for players who accept QOs), but talks went nowhere anyhow, according to Rosenthal.
- The Rangers like Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy but consider the cost to acquire him to be prohibitive, Rosenthal further tweets. That shouldn’t come as a surprise in light of a tweet from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt, who says the asking price for Lucroy begins with highly touted minor league slugger Joey Gallo.
- The Rangers were one of eight clubs to visit with right-hander Joe Nathan in Nashville, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The Giants and Tigers also met with the former All-Star at the Winter Meetings as he seeks a new team while recovering from 2015 Tommy John surgery.