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Rangers can now move forward

11/14/2014

In some ways, the announcement of Rangers GM Jon Daniels and assistant GM Thad Levine getting three-year contract extensions Friday starts the process of moving on from the 2014 season.

You can say that a 95-loss season will never happen again for the Rangers, and it can’t be allowed given the amount of money spent and trades administered last season.

So now the Rangers focus on 2015 and the first order of business is getting right-handed starter Colby Lewis locked up.

Daniels has held talks with Lewis and his agent Alan Nero the last two weeks.

Next, Daniels has to find a quality pitcher to start behind Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and in front of Lewis if and when he signs. He can possibly add a young starter, Nick Martinez or Nick Tepesch, maybe as the No. 4 man.

Forget about Matt Harrison, at least for now, because the lefty, who was once a durable starter, is still recovering from his third back surgery in two seasons.

Daniels also wants another bat, particularly someone who can play left field since Shin-Soo Choo, one of those highly-priced free agents signed last year, could be moving to right. Daniels is open to Mitch Moreland or Jake Smolinski fighting for the job, but if a trade can be made with say San Diego, where old friend A.J. Preller is now the GM, then so be it.

Of course while Robinson Chirinos was given the No. 1 catcher duties, there is some concern about the development of Tomas Telis as the No. 2 man. Telis has performed well in winter ball and top prospect Jorge Alfaro will be added to the 40-man roster. There is no expectation for him to be in Arlington though until at least September.

Getting a veteran catcher who can give Chirinos a break is important. Yet, Daniels said he believes Chirinos can catch at least 100 games.

So now, Daniels and his key adviser, Levine, move the process along of fixing the Rangers. Fixing might not be the proper word here, but just fine-tuning and hoping some of the injured players such as Prince Fielder, Choo and underachieving ones like Elvis Andrus produce healthy numbers.

The extensions for both were deserved seeing the talent with the big club and in the minors. Daniels said he’s fielded calls from other clubs regarding some of the talent in the minor leagues and there are rumors about Andrus being dealt.

“I do think there are some clubs that we line up where our areas of depth line up with theirs,” Daniels said. “Pitching, adding a catcher continue to be areas we view as priorities. We have to reach back out to Colby Lewis here. We've got to get a third base coach hired and (we have) some staff coming into Arlington next week, both in the scouting and the development side (for) some smaller meetings. We just try to line some things up and continue the work on the back side of things.”