Rangers to address wish list at Winter Meetings

Club to prioritize adding starting pitching, power bats

Rangers to address wish list at Winter Meetings

ARLINGTON -- At some point the rumors have to stop and deals have to be made.

The Winter Meetings are a good place to make that happen, as the Rangers explore the possibility of trading for White Sox left-hander Chris Sale or Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, or seek to consummate a deal with one of the remaining free-agent starters, whether it's Rich Hill, Derek Holland or Colby Lewis.

They might even address the significant holes in the offense created by Ian Desmond, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Gomez and Mitch Moreland becoming free agents. Re-signing either Desmond or Gomez would be a major step, or the club could pursue a free-agent slugger, such as Edwin Encarnacion, Mike Napoli or Chris Carter.

Hot Stove Tracker

The Rangers aren't going to get everybody on their list, but they should be active at the Winter Meetings.

Rangers may trade for Sale

MLB.com and MLB Network will have wall-to-wall coverage of the 2016 Winter Meetings from the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside Washington, D.C. Fans can watch live streaming of all news conferences and manager availability on MLB.com, including the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 8 at 8 a.m. CT.

Club Needs

Starting pitching: Right now the Rangers have a rotation of Cole Hamels, Yu Darvish, Martin Perez and Andrew Cashner. A.J. Griffin and Nick Martinez are the leading candidates to be the fifth starter but the Texas is pursuing more. Hill, Holland and Lewis are all possibilities. Among the other top free-agent pitchers available are Clay Buchholz, Ivan Nova and Jaime Garcia.

Cashner signs with Rangers

Center field: Add Dexter Fowler to the list of possibilities now that the Cubs have signed Jon Jay. The Rangers would like either Desmond or Gomez back. They still have Delino DeShields, so they have the option of spending their money in other areas, if so desired.

First base/DH: Moreland would like to return. The Rangers have not seemed too hot on Beltran. Encarnacion is the top hitter on the market. Carter has great power, but excessive strikeouts and below-average defense. The Rangers need offense from somewhere … maybe more than they need a starting pitcher.

Rangers look to upgrade at 1B

Who they can trade if necessary

IF Jurickson Profar: The Rangers love his versatility and he could be a factor at first base. But he could be their best chance to land a young, controllable starter.

1B Joey Gallo: He is another candidate for first base, but also could bring back a young starter.

OF DeShields: If he is not going to be the everyday center fielder, maybe somebody else would be interested.

LHP Perez: If you want to make an impact trade, you have to give up something.

Top prospects

The Rangers' top prospects, according to MLBPipeline.com, are LHP Yohander Mendez, 2B Andy Ibanez, OF Leody Taveras and 1B Ronald Guzman. All would be of interest to other teams if the Rangers are eager to make an impact trade.

Non-tender candidates

The Rangers have seven players eligible for arbitration: relievers Sam Dyson, Jeremy Jeffress, Jake Diekman and Tanner Scheppers, catcher Robinson Chirinos, Profar and Griffin. Scheppers and Griffin might be candidates, but the Rangers may need them both next year.

Rule 5 Draft

The Rangers have a full 40-man roster. That could change, but until it does, they can't take anyone in the Rule 5 Draft. As far as losing a player, outfielder Jairo Beras would be the only real possibility.

Big contracts they might unload

The Rangers owe Shin-Soo Choo $82 million over the next four years. They will gladly pay it, if he could stay healthy. That has been a challenge, which also makes it unlikely the Rangers could trade him without eating a significant portion. Right now he is locked in as the Rangers' right fielder.

Payroll summary

The Rangers generally don't talk about payroll. They were at approximately $160 million last year, and will likely be in that vicinity again, although their ownership group is quite flexible.

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.