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Rangers looking to boost farm system

Daniels: Texas "not interested" in dealing Minor Leaguers to fill roles
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- There have been interesting names tossed about in trade rumors lately, including several players who would fulfill specific needs for the Rangers.

The Rangers have to be interested if the Rays are willing to talk about starters Jake Odorizzi and Chris Archer and reliever Alex Colome. Texas is also among many teams monitoring the developments in Miami, and it certainly could use outfielder Christian Yelich and catcher J.T. Realmuto if they are included in the Marlins' plans to trade established players for future needs.

ARLINGTON -- There have been interesting names tossed about in trade rumors lately, including several players who would fulfill specific needs for the Rangers.

The Rangers have to be interested if the Rays are willing to talk about starters Jake Odorizzi and Chris Archer and reliever Alex Colome. Texas is also among many teams monitoring the developments in Miami, and it certainly could use outfielder Christian Yelich and catcher J.T. Realmuto if they are included in the Marlins' plans to trade established players for future needs.

The Rangers' need for pitching is well-documented. Yelich, who is signed through 2021, is an established player who could help Texas both offensively and defensively, either in left or center. Realmuto has emerged in the past two years as one of the top young catchers in the game.

The problem for the Rangers is that trading for any of the above would require giving up significant young talent, and they are expressing a reluctance to do that this winter.

"We get asked about our players a lot," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "The last two or three trade cycles, we made a concerted effort to hold on to our best young players. We are making a concerted effort to be more disciplined and stay away from that. We are looking to add to the group."

The drain of talent from the Rangers' farm system over the past three years is also well-documented. Trades that brought pitchers Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman and Sam Dyson, plus catcher Jonathan Lucroy and designated hitter Carlos Beltran helped produce two division titles, but they also cost the Rangers no less than a dozen Minor League players.

As a result, the Rangers are thinner than usual in prospects at Triple-A Round Rock and Double-A Frisco, and they probably need at least another year of development before the farm system is fully restocked.

"I would agree with that," Daniels said. "We get asked about some of those guys a good amount, but we get asked about our younger upside players a lot, and we are just not interested in cutting into that right now. Give it time and see where we are."

Video: Guzman named the Rangers' Pipeline hitter of the year

Of the Top 30 Rangers prospects currently listed by MLB Pipeline, outfielder Willie Calhoun (No. 2) and first baseman Ronald Guzman (No. 3) are the only two who have spent a full year at Triple-A. Six others -- pitchers Connor Sadzeck, Yohander Mendez and Ariel Jurado, catcher Jose Trevino, second baseman Andy Ibanez and outfielder Scott Heineman -- have spent a full season at Double-A.

That leaves 22 of 30 prospects who have yet to make it to Frisco.

"I think in a lot of cases -- this is both Majors and Minors -- our players will have more value later than they do right now for a variety of reasons," Daniels said. "That factors in as far as when is the right time to make a move."

The Rangers discussed trade scenarios with the D-backs at the Winter Meetings that involved All-Star pitcher Zack Greinke. But those talks seemed to be dependent upon Arizona taking outfielder Shin-Soo Choo in return to help balance the hefty financial ramifications of the potential trade.

The Rangers have made one trade, acquiring pitcher Matt Moore from the Giants. But the two Minor League pitchers given up -- Sam Wolff and Israel Cruz -- were not among their Top 30 prospects.

There were rumors at the Winter Meetings about the Rangers possibly being interested in Mets pitcher Matt Harvey. But he is a free agent after this season, and Texas isn't interested in exchanging prospects for a one-year "rental."

"Are there scenarios in which we would make an exception? Of course," Daniels said. "But not for a short-term guy, we wouldn't. There is no line in the sand, but we are not looking to make that kind of trade."

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.

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