"We exchanged proposals with a couple of clubs, but it just didn't line up right," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Thursday afternoon after the Deadline had passed. "That's OK. We went into it with a few things that we were open to do. We established a level of value on the guys being asked about. We're happy to keep those guys."
The Rangers were also asked about pitcher Yu Darvish and third baseman Adrian Beltre but had no real interest in moving either player. One club even asked about Colby Lewis, but most of the conversations revolved around Rios and Cotts.
The Rangers had already made two deals earlier in the month, trading Jason Frasor to the Royals for Triple-A reliever Spencer Patton as well as Joakim Soria to the Tigers for Double-A starter Jake Thompson and Triple-A reliever Corey Knebel.
"If we wanted to move our best players, teams were interested," Daniels said. "But we didn't want to make those kinds of deals. The Trade Deadline is kind of a misnomer. You can continue to make trades. We acquired Alex Rios last August. Things continue to happen. But we feel pretty good about what we did, and there has been a lot of work done the last couple of months that could lead to things down the line."
Both Rios and Cotts could be back next year. The Rangers hold a $13.5 million option on Rios for 2015 and have had preliminary discussions on a contract extension for Cotts, who can be a free agent after the season.
"Holding on to him gives us a little longer window to discuss that," Daniels said.
Right now, the Rangers are preparing for 2015 from two directions. They want to make sure their injured players are at full strength, and they want to make good evaluations on the players they already have.
From an injury standpoint, the Rangers don't expect most of the players currently on the disabled list to play again this season. Pitchers Tanner Scheppers and Alexi Ogando, who are both sidelined with elbow inflammation, will not pitch again this season.
Jurickson Profar, who has been out all year with a torn muscle in his right shoulder, will begin a throwing program in two weeks in the hopes he can make up for lost time in either the Arizona Fall League or winter ball. Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland are done for the year.
"If we were in a pennant race, we might be able to push it with Prince," Daniels said. "Now it doesn't make sense. We want to make sure we have a clean break from our 2014 injuries. We want these guys to have normal offseasons, not a rehab offseason."
The Rangers are open to Derek Holland pitching at the Major League level. Holland, recovering from offseason knee surgery, will make his second rehab start on Monday with Triple-A Round Rock.
"The way we set it up with Derek is we're going to take it start to start," Daniels said. "His long-term health is our priority. It would be good from a mental standpoint if he got back up here and competed and trusted his leg again. It would be good for our planning purposes. But we're more concerned about next year, and we're not going to jeopardize that."
From an evaluation standpoint, the Rangers want to get a good read on as many players as possible. It starts at the Major League level.
Regarding their pitching, the Rangers want to see if Neftali Feliz can be a front-line closer again. They want to see if Nick Martinez, Nick Tepesch and Miles Mikolas can contribute to a winning rotation and if Shawn Tolleson, Roman Mendez and others can do the same in the bullpen. They want to see if Lewis is truly recovered from his elbow and hip problems and is back to what he was in 2010-11.
Concerning their position players, the Rangers are going to take a long, hard look at Jim Adduci either in the outfield or first base. They will continue to assess the progress of infielder Rougned Odor, outfielder Leonys Martin, catcher Robinson Chirinos and first baseman J.P. Arencibia.
They will consider bringing some young guys to the big leagues, including Patton, Knebel and Phil Klein. Luke Jackson is among the candidates to get a September look in the rotation. Outfielder Michael Choice, infielder Luis Sardinas and pitcher Robbie Ross could be back by September.
"There are quite a few guys that are interesting and we want to take a look at," Daniels said.
Infielder Joey Gallo is not one. The Double-A power prodigy will likely be in big league camp next spring, but the Rangers have no intention of bringing him to the big leagues this season, especially since he doesn't have to be added to the 40-man roster this winter.
But Gallo is clearly in the forefront of a wave of young talent that will arrive in Arlington over the next few years, and the Rangers are lining everything up so they will be in position to ride that wave.
"We need to evaluate which young players are ready to contribute," Daniels said. "We're going to be relying a lot on the next young wave of talent, whether it's on Opening Day or a gradual process. But we're developing the next group to play for us. We're set up for that for the long haul."