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December 05, 2011

Rangers GM sees top starter as luxury item

General manager Jon Daniels said that the Rangers are working off of two lists this week at the winter meetings. There's a needs list and a don't-necessarily-need list, which is where an upgrade to the starter rotation falls.

Daniels and Bob Garber, the agent for C.J. Wilson, will meet tonight. A source said earlier today that Wilson has an offer for six years from one of the five teams courting him. The Cubs and Red Sox reportedly also have interest.

The Rangers are believed to be in the mix for Mark Buehrle, another free-agent left-hander. Some in the organization covet Buehrle more than Wilson, saying that Buehrle is more of a proven commodity and a veteran the Rangers' young starter could benefit from having in the clubhouse.

While the Rangers like the rotation in place now, Wilson or Buehrle or a veteran who could be had in a trade would be upgrades.

"We're certainly exploring those options," Daniels said.

First base, though, is not getting a ton of looks. Daniels said yet again that the Rangers are comfortable with Mitch Moreland, even though he is coming off right wrist surgery. Asked if the Rangers have any plans to make a significant splash in free agency at first base -- either Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder -- Daniels said, "We don't have any plans to at this point."

In the bullpen, Darren Oliver and Michael Gonzalez are in the picture as left-handed set-up men, but the Rangers also like right-hander Koji Uehara's ability to retire left-handed hitters. Andrew Bailey, the Oakland closer, is a trade possibility and would be a power right-hander at the back of the bullpen. Tanner Scheppers could also be a possibility. The Rangers now see the righty as a reliever, a role he pitched in early this off-season in Venezuela.

-- Jeff Wilson



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