The Texas Rangers could be active traders as Opening Day approaches. Or not.
The Rangers have pitching to spare, both in the rotation (Scott Feldman) and bullpen (Koji Uehara, Mark Lowe). But rather than make a deal that would yield little return, they might prefer to keep their depth intact, major-league sources say.
The performances of two non-roster relievers in the final weeks of spring training could influence the Rangers’ thinking. If either right-hander Tanner Scheppers, 25, or Robert Ross, 22, looks ready, the team might be more motivated to make a move.
Scheppers threw two scoreless innings in a recent outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers, striking out Matt Kemp, but struggled Monday against the Milwaukee Brewers, failing to complete his inning. Ross has thrown four scoreless innings this spring, striking out six.
Still, the Rangers don’t need to force the issue.
Feldman could open in the bullpen and help in the rotation as warranted. Uehara, earning $4 million, is struggling this spring after struggling in the postseason. And Lowe, earning $1.7 million, also might have greater value at the July 31 non-waiver deadline.
Teams looking to add relievers generally are more willing to part with better prospects and take on greater financial commitments during the season, after they exhaust their internal options.
Whatever the Rangers decide, their pitching depth continues to make them popular with other clubs. The team even received calls on right-hander Colby Lewis during the offseason, but chose not to make a move, valuing Lewis’ stability.
— Ken Rosenthal