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Kela could fit contenders at Trade Deadline

Rangers likely to hang on to Beltre as they speak with clubs
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

HOUSTON -- The Rangers are still having trade conversations with other teams, but closer Keone Kela is more likely to be dealt than third baseman Adrian Beltre heading to Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.

The club continues to get inquiries on its young relievers and hopes to get controllable starting pitching in return. Just about every contending club is in the market for relief help even if it means using Kela in a setup role rather than as a closer. The Astros are a team that could consider trading for a closer.

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HOUSTON -- The Rangers are still having trade conversations with other teams, but closer Keone Kela is more likely to be dealt than third baseman Adrian Beltre heading to Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.

The club continues to get inquiries on its young relievers and hopes to get controllable starting pitching in return. Just about every contending club is in the market for relief help even if it means using Kela in a setup role rather than as a closer. The Astros are a team that could consider trading for a closer.

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"We are having a bunch of conversations, I really can't handicap it," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "We are open. Don't feel there is anything we have to do. A number of players we are asked about have control past this season and are a good fit for us. We are open that if there is young talent coming back that fits our long-term plan better. We are and will have those conversations."

The Braves are among the teams that could use relief help and have been scouting the Rangers thoroughly. They are also the one National League club which could use Beltre. The Braves are in need of both a right-handed hitter and veteran leadership, and Beltre could share time at third base with switch-hitter Johan Camargo.

But the Rangers aren't as motivated to move Beltre as they are other players. There is still some sentiment to re-sign him after he becomes a free agent this offseason.

"His value to us is different than his statistical line is," Daniels said. "We think highly of him. We have the most games played by players under 25 years old -- position players -- in the big leagues. It's a young group. The value of Adrian with that young group is real. The value of Adrian with his legacy with our organization is real.

"He and I have had a number of conversations ... try to keep the communication very open. I'm not saying a deal can't happen. It may. There are some different elements in play for us."

The Pirates are another team with interest in the Rangers' inventory and are looking for a proven controllable reliever. Kela and Jose Leclerc would be the logical fit for the Bucs in that scenario, and the Rangers are looking for young starting pitching. The Pirates have two who could be of interest to the Rangers: Triple-A right-hander Clay Holmes and Double-A left-hander Taylor Hearn.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Adrian Beltre, Keone Kela