- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 16, 2018

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Rangers general manager Jon Daniels anticipates adding depth to his rotation. It remains unlikely that pitcher will be a front-line starter.

“We’re not going to close the door on the chance to add premium talent. You always explore it,” Daniels said Tuesday. “But if I had to handicap it, I don’t think it’s highly likely at this point.”

Yu Darvish, traded by the Rangers to the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers last July, is among several starting pitchers still available as free agents. Jake Arrieta, the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner who went to nearby TCU, is also among that group.

Daniels has consistently said the Rangers, who missed the playoffs last season after consecutive AL West titles, didn’t plan to spend big this offseason.

“We’re pretty realistic about where we are and what our goals are, both short- and long-term,” Daniels said. “We’ve said from Day 1 we were not going to kind of go all-in from a standpoint of spending big dollars against this year.”

After a report last week that Darvish narrowed his potential teams to the Rangers, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Houston and Minnesota, the pitcher responded on Twitter, “know one more team is in.”

Daniels and Darvish had dinner together last month, a previously planned gathering of friends who had worked together for 5½ seasons and not a negotiating session.

Asked if another dinner was planned with Darvish, Daniels responded, “No, not that I’m aware of.

“He did pay last time, though. That was a first,” the GM said. “Six years of lunches and stuff, he had never paid before.”

When the offseason began, the Rangers had only left-handers Cole Hamels and 13-game winner Martin Perez signed for their 2018 rotation. They fell short in their pursuit of pitcher-outfielder Shoehi Ohtani from Japan.

Free agents Doug Fister and Mike Minor signed with Texas, and Matt Moore was acquired from San Francisco in a trade. Reliever Matt Bush could also be transitioning into a starter’s role.

Fister was the first of this year’s 166 major league free agents to complete a big league contract and the first to switch teams when He finalized a $4 million one-year deal that could be worth up to $11.5 million over two seasons.

Minor got a $28 million, three-year contract to return to a starter role. The former Atlanta Braves starter was a reliever with the Kansas City Royals last season after missing the previous two seasons with shoulder issues.

Texas obtained Moore, who has a $7 million contract for 2018, for two minor league right-handers.


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