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Rangers to patrol for arms

Rangers to patrol for arms

Club needs
Starting pitching: The Rangers need starting pitching and would love to trade for a young pitcher who fits their long-range plans. Their financial situation makes it unlikely that they'll dive heavily into the free-agent market.

Bullpen: The Rangers will look into adding a closer, but won't spend big money on a free agent. They could use a left-handed reliever and a middle reliever who would replace Jamey Wright and be able to pitch multiple innings.

Third base: Travis Metcalf is the only true third baseman on the 40-man roster. The Rangers will seek a cheap alternative.

Who they can trade:
Gerald Laird -- The Rangers have four catchers of interest to other teams: Laird, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden and Max Ramirez. They would like to trade Laird, who could make over $3 million in arbitration and can be a free agent after the 2010 season.

Marlon Byrd -- The Rangers have depth in the outfield, and Byrd could also make over $3 million from arbitration.

Hank Blalock -- The Rangers picked up his $6.2 million option for 2009, and right now he is their designated hitter -- but he could be traded for pitching. Most clubs look at him as plan B while pursuing other options, most notably Mark Teixeira.

Frank Catalanotto -- He is scheduled to make $4 million this year, but really doesn't fit on this team. He is more suited for a National League team that needs a left-handed bat and/or pinch-hitter.

Top prospects:
Shortstop Elvus Andrus -- He could force Michael Young to third base.

Lefty Derek Holland -- He's not going anywhere.

Righty Neftali Feliz -- Another "untouchable."

Teagarden -- The Rangers would rather trade Laird.

Outfielder Julio Borbon -- Available if the Rangers could get a top pitching prospect.

Big contracts they might unload:
Vicente Padilla -- He makes $11.75 million in 2009 with an option for '10. Other clubs might be interested if they can't do something in the free-agent market.

Kevin Millwood -- He's down for $12 million in 2009. If he pitches at least 180 innings, then he becomes signed for '10 at another $12 million. Same situation as Padilla.

Arbitration eligible:
Byrd -- More likely subject to a trade than being non-tendered.

Righty Brandon McCarthy -- He'll get another shot at the rotation.

Laird -- He'll be back if not traded.

Righty Frank Francisco -- He's the leading candidate to be the closer.

Lefty C.J. Wilson -- He was the closer in 2008 before undergoing elbow surgery. He has fallen behind Francisco on the depth chart.

Payroll summation:
The Rangers will be right around $67 million again in 2009, if that high, and that's why they won't go heavy into the free-agent market unless they can trade someone.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["winter_meetings" ] }
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