Daniels, Rangers focused on adding bullpen depth

Texas GM seeks left- and right-handed relievers following Ohlendorf signing

Daniels, Rangers focused on adding bullpen depth

ARLINGTON -- Bullpen depth is the Rangers' main focus going into the final weeks of the offseason. General manager Jon Daniels said at FanFest on Saturday that Texas is still looking for relievers before going into Spring Training.

Daniels said the Rangers are looking for both right- and left-handed relievers, but he acknowledged they are a little short on the left side with only Robbie Ross, Alex Claudio and Michael Kirkman coming to camp at this point.

"We're looking at smaller things like more depth, especially in the bullpen," Daniels said. "We've only got three left-handers coming to camp, so I'd like to have a little more competition. It may be a situation where our scouts identify a guy and we sign a left-hander in Spring Training."

Daniels said he has been told that left-hander Neal Cotts is expected to sign with another club. Cotts spent the past two seasons with the Rangers and he is a free agent.

"There are still some interesting names out there," Daniels said.

Daniels spoke to the media after the taking questions from fans in the Rangers Hall of Fame on Saturday morning. The GM had a couple of quick answers for fans wondering if Texas had a bigger acquisition in mind this winter.

Daniels was asked by one fan what the Rangers' chances were of trading for Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton, as some rumors suggested.

"Small," Daniels said.

Another fan wanted to know if Texas could sign free-agent pitcher James Shields.

"Let's pass the boot around and take a collection," Daniels said. "It's unlikely."

Daniels was also asked about Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, in whom the Rangers also had interest this winter before acquiring Yovani Gallardo. Daniels said the package to get Gallardo would not even "come close" to getting the Phillies to give up Hamels.

 

Rangers on trading for Gallardo

Texas did acquire another potential starter on Friday night, when the club signed Ross Ohlendorf to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

Ohlendorf is a seven-year veteran who has pitched for the Yankees, Pirates, Padres and Nationals. He has made 80 starts and 44 relief appearances in his career, with a 22-33 record and a 4.88 ERA before missing all of last season with a back injury. The Rangers consider Ohlendorf both a starter and a reliever, and he could fill the utility role that Scott Baker served in last season.

Ohlendorf, a fourth-round Draft pick by the D-backs out of Princeton University in 2004, had his best season with the Pirates in 2009, when he was 11-10 with a 3.92 ERA in 29 starts.

"We like that he can start and he can relieve," Daniels said. "We saw him throw last week in Austin and he threw well. He is an intelligent guy who gets the most out of his ability."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.