"We feel pretty strongly he can be a big piece right now."Lee can also be a free agent after the season and is reportedly looking for a five-year deal at around $10-12 million annually. One benchmark could be the five-year, $60 million contract that first baseman Paul Konerko signed with the Chicago White Sox last offseason.
The Rangers may not be done as Monday's non-waiver deadline approaches. Daniels' No. 1 priority is still to acquire starting pitching.Other pitchers that the Rangers have talked about include Cory Lidle and Jon Lieber with the Phillies, Livan Hernandez and Tony Armas Jr. with the Nationals, Arizona's Miguel Batista and Baltimore's Rodrigo Lopez. "Our priority is to get better," Daniels said. "We've talked about a lot of different players and a lot of different scenarios. Starting pitching is an area we would like to upgrade if possible. But the market will dictate that and it hasn't been a strong market." The Rangers are also interested in adding a veteran right-handed reliever after including Cordero in the deal with the Brewers. Cordero was an All-Star for the Rangers as their closer in 2004, but lost his job this season when he was replaced by Akinori Otsuka at the end of April. He was more effective as a setup reliever, going 4-2 with a 2.87 ERA since May 1. The Rangers are calling up right-hander Josh Rupe to replace Cordero, although not necessarily in the eighth-inning role. Rick Bauer is expected to assume that role, but the Rangers are looking at the trade market for possible help. Pittsburgh's Roberto Hernandez is a name that has been brought up in the past and the Orioles are interested in dealing LaTroy Hawkins. "We're going to continue to look to improve the club any way we can," Daniels said. "The bullpen has been a strength for us all year and taking Cordero out of it is something we'll have to address. We do feel we have some quality internal candidates to fill the void." Mench is hitting .284 with 12 home runs and 50 RBIs, but the Rangers like the idea of adding Lee right now and having Cruz as their right fielder next year.
Nix was hitting .269 with 10 home runs and 55 RBIs in 77 games for Triple-A Oklahoma after starting the season with the Rangers. Cordero, 21, was 2-5 with a 2.77 ERA at Class A Clinton.
"I was a little shocked at first," shortstop Michael Young said. "This is the first time since I've been here that we've made a blockbuster deal during the season that really opens your eyes. Obviously, we have a great deal of faith in the guys we have here, but when you acquire a guy like Carlos, you know he's only going to help this team."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.