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Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Rangers still searching for pitching depth

By Richard Durrett

ARLINGTON, Texas -- There was no last-minute jump into the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes for the Texas Rangers as the Japanese pitcher signed with the New York Yankees for $155 million over seven years on Wednesday morning.

General manager Jon Daniels said as much Tuesday, reiterating that the club is looking at lower-priced arms rather than the top-dollar guys.

Masahiro Tanaka
Jon Daniels said the Rangers aren't pursuing top-of-the-market guys, which would include Masahiro Tanaka.
"Our offseason goals, first and foremost, were to address the offense," Daniels said. "We were pretty aggressive in spending our resources there. You can always add depth."

Daniels watched as some of the organization's young pitchers threw off the mound for pitching coach Mike Maddux and bullpen coach Andy Hawkins, among others. It was a chance to see some of the internal options for the recently-opened rotation spot and get a look at the future. Derek Holland's injury -- no word on how boxer Wrigley is holding up after tripping Holland on the stairs of his home a few weeks back -- means the club is in need of more arms.

That can come from the organization, but also from outside.

"We’re looking at guys we think can come in and provide us with depth and maybe competition in camp," Daniels said. "There are always guys signed this time of year that end up playing big roles on good clubs. You have to trust your scouts, trust your people and make good evaluations."

Baseball's hot stove has been chilly the past few weeks. Tanaka was probably the reason. There are a group of pitchers out there that could help the Rangers from a short-term, low-risk, incentive-based perspective. But those players were waiting to see where Tanaka goes and how much he gets.

"We’re not really pursuing the top-of-the-market guys, but I think as some of those guys sign, I’m hoping we’ll see it thaw out a little bit," Daniels said.

Now that Tanaka has signed, look for things to pick up a bit on the rest of the pitching market. There are some arms out there that can compete for a rotation spot on the back end and we've talked about them here on this blog. That includes Paul Maholm, Jerome Williams, Bronson Arroyo, Ubaldo Jimenez and others. Stay tuned.