For free-agent right-hander Brandon Webb, the choice isn't easy.
Sign with the Rangers,whose team physician, Keith Meister, performed a cleanup on Webb's right shoulder in Aug. 2009?
Or go with the Reds, whose pitching coach, Bryan Price, and trainer, Paul Lessard, both were with the Diamondbacks for much of Webb's tenure?
The Reds' interest in Webb is not confirmed, but Cincinnati is the principal challenger to Texas, according to major-league sources.
The Cubs and Nationals no longer are pursuing Webb, sources say - a development first reported by ESPN.com. The extent of the Reds' involvement with Webb is unclear.
The team also is talking with free-agent outfielder Scott Podsednik and exploring possible upgrades over Paul Janish at shortstop. Webb lives in Kentucky, but the Rangers appeal to Webb for a variety of reasons, sources say.
Manager Ron Washington and pitching coach Mike Maddux are strong selling points. And, while the Rangers' ballpark is hitter-friendly, the other AL West parks - Anaheim, Oakland and Seattle - are more favorable to pitchers.
Webb pitched only four innings the past two seasons due to shoulder problems. Pitchers with shoulder injuries are considered high-risk by clubs. As one exec said Sunday, Mark Prior never recovered fully while Joaquin Benoit enjoyed a spectacular breakthrough last season.
- Ken Rosenthal