Josh Hamilton reported to camp with inflammation in his recently-repaired left knee, as MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports. With ongoing uncertainty surrounding his availability, the Rangers are keeping an eye on several options for bolstering the club’s outfield depth, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports.
No deals are close to being struck at present, per FOX Sports, but the club is monitoring multiple possibilities. If it adds a bat, Texas would rather a left-handed hitter, though that isn’t seen as essential. The club wouldn’t be looking for a full-time regular so much as a veteran part-timer, it would appear.
One possibility raised in the report is a swap for Mets outfielder Alejandro De Aza. He was only just signed this winter — for one year and $5.75MM — and would therefore have the right to reject any deal. But De Aza has been discussed as a possible trade piece due to New York’s subsequent signing of Yoenis Cespedes.
Alternatives include free agents David Murphy and Will Venable, Morosi adds. Those two former Rangers remain unsigned, among several other notable players lined up as Dexter Fowler and Austin Jackson look for new homes. (For what it’s worth, Fowler and Jackson have long seemed speculative matches with Texas, though there’s no indication they are a present consideration.)
It’s interesting to wonder to what extent the Rangers would prioritize the addition of a center field-capable player. After all, as Sullivan notes, some combination of Justin Ruggiano and Ryan Rua (from the right side) and Joey Gallo, James Jones, or even Ike Davis (from the left) could potentially form a platoon in left if Hamilton misses time. Meanwhile, a potential partner for Delino DeShields Jr. wouldn’t be the worst idea, with only the unproven Jones representing an in-house candidate for that role. Both De Aza and Venable could present such an option.