Rangers ready for anything in free agency

Club hopes to add pitching, but may look in other areas as well

Rangers ready for anything in free agency

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' plan going into this past summer's non-waiver Trade Deadline was to add starting pitching. That did not turn out to be the case as their big acquisitions were catcher Jonathan Lucroy, designated hitter Carlos Beltran and reliever Jeremy Jeffress.

The Rangers' goal this offseason is again to upgrade their starting pitching, but that could change as well. As the free agency period gets set to open, Texas is looking at what appears to be a think market for starting pitching.

The Rangers may again change course and use the bulk of their available resources in other areas. Their lineup is looking at several holes, and the available options there appear more attractive than starting pitching.

Looking ahead to 2017 Rangers

"You have to be willing to adjust," general manager Jon Daniels said. "It's highly unlikely we are going to get the first person on every list we've made up."

Arbitration eligible: RHP Tanner Scheppers, IF Jurickson Profar, RHP Jeffress, RHP Sam Dyson, RHP A.J. Griffin, LHP Jake Diekman, C Robinson Chirinos

Free agents: RHP Colby Lewis, OF Ian Desmond, 1B Mitch Moreland, OF Carlos Gomez, OF Beltran, LHP Derek Holland

Biggest potential free-agent loss: The Rangers need starting pitching, but are not picking up Holland's option and are undecided about re-signing Lewis. Desmond still figures to be the biggest loss after having an All-Star season in his first year as a center fielder. The Rangers are interested in re-signing him, but may try to bring back Gomez as a cheaper option.

Potential free-agent targets: Time to round up all the usual free-agent starting pitching prospects. This year's list appears to be headed by right-handers Doug Fister, Ivan Nova and Jake Peavy and left-hander Rich Hill.

As always, there are pitchers out there who have connections to current Rangers staff members. Right-hander Charlie Morton was with manager Jeff Banister in Pittsburgh, and Bud Norris was with pitching coach Doug Brocail in Houston.

There are also the usual reclamation projects. Right-hander Alfredo Simon won 28 games in 2014-15 with the Reds and Tigers before missing much of this past season because of a shoulder injury. The list is filled with similar cases, from Brett Anderson to former Ranger C.J. Wilson.

Wild card scenario: The Rangers are going to have a big hole in the middle of their lineup if they lose Desmond and Beltran. First base/designated hitter could be the spot used to address that need, and the top free agent is Edwin Encarnacion, who had 42 home runs and 127 RBIs for the Blue Jays.

He would be a great fit for the Rangers, although they will look at other areas first.

The Rangers always love a good reunion with one of their former players, so they will almost assuredly explore interest in Mike Napoli. This time he won't have to play the outfield.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.