ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Sunday that he hopes his team isn't right in the middle of a major deal at the trade deadline, which is a month away.
"I'm hoping we're not big players," Daniels said. "The talent and depth of this club, knock on wood, if we get healthy on the pitching side and stay healthy with the hitters, that's going to be our biggest room for improvement. I don't anticipate, necessarily, being real active. But we'll see what happens."
That won't, of course, keep the Rangers from doing their due diligence. They've scattered scouts across the league and have seen recent starts by Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels, two of the top starting pitchers that could be on the market in a few weeks.
"We pride ourselves on being prepared for anything," Daniels said. "We're expecting to get all these guys (pitchers) back. I think that shows how quick things could change and you've got to stay flexible and Josh (Boyd, director of pro scouting) has our pro scouts lined up regardless of what happens here and we want to make sure we're on top of things."
The Rangers already added one big piece, signing free agent starter Roy Oswalt right after Neftali Feliz went on the disabled list with a strained elbow ligament. As Oswalt was building up arm strength, a rash of pitching injuries followed. Oswalt is now in the rotation and is 2-0 with a 4.26 ERA in two starts.
Daniels doesn't expect any major shifts in strategy at the deadline, even with the additional wild card teams and new rules which have altered draft pick compensation.
"You usually see a couple of deals early on and then coming out of the deadline you see a few stepped up," Daniels said. "We're such a deadline-driven industry that in the last 72 hours will be 90 percent of the deals."
Daniels is encouraged by the fact that despite a six-game lead going into Sunday night's game, he doesn't feel his team has reached its peak.
"Outside of the beginning of the year, I'm not sure we've clicked on all cylinders," Daniels said. "I think that's a credit to these guys that they've found ways to win even without that. Hopefully, we can get healthy and get going in the second half."
The Rangers could see four pitchers return from the DL before the deadline. Left-handed starter Derek Holland is scheduled to make his second rehab start for Triple-A Round Rock on Monday and throw around 80 pitches.
Depending on how he feels and what the club needs, Holland could then join the rotation for the Minnesota series next weekend or make one more start in the minors and return after the All-Star break.