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Rangers not expected to pursue closer

Daniels doesn't expect any more significant acquisitions
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- Third baseman Adrian Beltre said the Rangers have a "really good" team. He believes the Rangers will be competitive this year.

But the future Hall of Famer would like to make one more addition.

ARLINGTON -- Third baseman Adrian Beltre said the Rangers have a "really good" team. He believes the Rangers will be competitive this year.

But the future Hall of Famer would like to make one more addition.

"We don't have a closer right now," Beltre said Tuesday. "That's an area that's going to be a question mark. Normally, when you have really good teams, you have one. You have closers out there in the free-agent market. … Ideally for me, you get a closer, put him in there and use him."

• Manfred to attend Rangers' Opening Day

The obvious closer on the free-agent market is Greg Holland, who saved 45 games for the Rockies last season. The Rangers are not actively pursuing him.

"I couldn't be more clear, I don't expect any more significant acquisitions," general manager Jon Daniels said. "There is not a lot going on from our standpoint in the free-agent market."

Daniels has never been convinced of the wisdom of spending a significant amount of money for a closer. The last time they did so was with Joe Nathan in 2012-13. Since then the Rangers have changed closers at some point in each of the last four seasons. Sam Dyson, Matt Bush and Alex Claudio were all given the chance last year.

Video: OAK@TEX: Claudio induces a grounder for the final out

"That's not necessarily the goal, but it happens around the game all the time," Daniels said.

The Rangers will go into this season without an identified closer, but Daniels is counting on somebody to seize the job just like Shawn Tolleson did in 2015 and Dyson did in '16.

"That will happen over the course of the season, roles will be established," Daniels said. "Is there an advantage to having things set? In some ways but a lot of the good teams around the game … where do those closers come from, when were they established. Were they the guy from Day 1 or did it transpire over a matter of weeks and games into the season?"

Claudio is a possibility, but so are left-hander Jake Diekman and right-hander Keone Kela. Right-hander Kevin Jepsen saved 17 games for the Rays and Twins in 2016.

"We have a couple of guys we are comfortable closing out a game for us," manager Jeff Banister said. "Claudio closed out games for us last year, but there is value in being able to use him up and down the inning spectrum. Kela, Jepsen, Diekman … these guys have shown the ability to close games for us. We have some options available to us."

Banister said one benefit to not have a designated closer is it keeps the Rangers from relying on one reliever and overusing him.

"We are trying to keep these guys as fresh as possible," Banister said. "We have had to make changes every year. It's not the ultimate scenario, but if things aren't going well, you have to make changes from time to time. Sometimes you take guys out of the rotation."

Video: Jeff Banister appreciates Tim Lincecum's work ethic

Tim Lincecum has been suggested as a possible closer for the Rangers and is eager to take a shot at it. That may ultimately be the Rangers' plan, but he is starting the season on the disabled list with a blister on his right middle finger and not expected back until later in April or early May.

"He's got to get out and pitch," Banister said.

So, who will it be on Opening Day if the Rangers have a one-run lead going into the ninth? That's what many are wondering, including the Rangers' team leader.

"Yeah, I have been spoiled," Beltre said. "I have been on a team and in an organization that's given me a chance to win every year. I appreciate that. This year I knew it was going to be different and I'm OK with that. It's not like we're rebuilding.

"I like our chances. Could we better, no doubt. We'll see how it goes."

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