The Texas Rangers have a very good outfield as is: Josh Hamilton in left, Craig Gentry in center, Nelson Cruz in right, David Murphy as a reserve. So if they upgrade, it would have to be with a true impact player. But at this point, it’s unclear how many elite outfielders are truly available.
Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez, who could ultimately succeed Hamilton as the Rangers’ No. 3 hitter and everyday left fielder, would be the ideal solution. He is at or near the top of the Rangers’ outfield wish list for 2013, sources say. Gonzalez won the batting title two years ago, ranks sixth among NL hitters in OPS and is signed to a reasonable contract through 2017.
In the future, perhaps the Rockies will consider the possibility of trading Gonzalez, 26, for the pitching they so desperately need. But for now, Rockies officials have been adamant that Gonzalez is unavailable. Gonzalez’s teammate Dexter Fowler – having a sensational season in center field – is said to be off limits, too.
The Rangers had a scout in Cleveland to watch right fielder Shin-Soo Choo Thursday night. But the Indians may not make Choo available, if they stay in the American League Central race. The Indians rallied against Detroit’s Justin Verlander for a crucial series-clinching win Thursday, keeping them within 3-1/2 games of the division lead.
Texas scouts had tracked Arizona’s Justin Upton earlier this month, but Diamondbacks officials have said publicly that Upton is likely to stay put.
-- Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal