ANAHEIM -- There is a growing feeling around Major League Baseball that either the Dodgers or the Rangers are going to end up with Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels before Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Privately, the Rangers are bracing to finish second in the competition. The Rangers are growing comfortable with the idea of paying Hamels $22.5 million annually through at least 2018. But they are still uncomfortable about giving up significant prospects, and the feeling is the Dodgers will be more aggressive in that regard. The Rangers are on the periphery of playoff contention, while the Dodgers are leading the National League West and have a greater urgency to try to win it all this season.
General manager Jon Daniels acknowledged the Rangers continue to have conversations with multiple clubs, but declined to discuss specifics.
"Sometimes there is a methodical pace and sometimes things happen quickly," Daniels said. "It's hard to evaluate the progress of trade talks. We're open to a variety of things.
"Realistically, we're not engaged in the top-end rental market. Smaller fits that would help the club, we'll talk about those. As far as players who fit for what we are looking for now and this winter, those are mainly the conversations we've had."
Hamels fits that because he is signed through at least 2018. The Rangers have had discussions with other clubs, including the Padres about pitchers Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner. Ross can be a free agent after the 2017 season, while Cashner can be a free agent after 2016.
"You don't see many controllable players moved at this time of year," Daniels said. "We may pick up some of these conversations this winter."
Texas remains in the market for a veteran reliever. The club also continues to get calls about right-handed pitchers Yovani Gallardo and Colby Lewis, who both can be free agents after the season. Gallardo has not pitched well in his past two starts, but that has not shut off interest.
The Rangers may still alter their rotation this week and right now are now listing "undecided" as their starters for Wednesday and Thursday against the Yankees. Lewis and Gallardo are slotted for those games, but Texas might insert a left-hander in there instead.
Hamels would be the preferred option. After throwing a no-hitter against the Cubs on Saturday, his next day to start would be Thursday. But the Rangers may settle for Wandy Rodriguez instead.
The Rangers are facing the Yankees, a team that does better against right-handed pitching than left-handers. Texas has left-handers Matt Harrison and Martin Perez to lead off the series, but may insert Rodriguez on Wednesday and push both Lewis and Gallardo back one day.
"It's about winning ballgames, starting pitching and putting our starters in the best opportunity to give us a chance to win games," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.
Rodriguez is 6-4 with a 4.07 ERA in his 15 starts, but hasn't started since July 10 against the Padres. The Rangers finally used him in relief Sunday and he allowed two runs in 1 1/3 innings against the Angels.
Starting on Wednesday also might give Texas a chance to showcase Rodriguez for other teams in advance of Friday's Deadline. It would also mean Gallardo would not pitch again until after the Deadline.