The Rangers’ priority from the start was to upgrade their bullpen. If they could make a deal work for the Mets’ Carlos Beltran, great. If not, they would keep trying to add a reliever or two.
Now that Beltran is on the verge of going to the Giants, the Rangers’ focus will not change. They are talking to the Padres about closer Heath Bell and setup man Mike Adams, sources say. They also are interested in Athletics closer Andrew Bailey and setup man Grant Balfour, though Bailey is a distinct longshot.
The Braves, another loser in the Beltran sweepstakes, will simply try to add a lesser bat. They entered the mix for the Astros’ Hunter Pence on Wednesday, and also have shown interest in the Padres’ Ryan Ludwick and others.
The Beltran trade highlighted a philosophical difference between the Giants, who were willing to give up top pitching prospect Zach Wheeler, and the Braves, who are deeper in young arms but refused to part with any of their elite prospects for a two-month rental.