The Texas Rangers, who are capable of bold moves and would like to replace Milton Bradley's offense, are considering a pursuit of superstar free agent Manny Ramirez.
The Rangers have been quiet this winter -- their big move has been signing reliever Derrick Turnbow -- but are looking at a number of ways to improve. Owner Tom Hicks has shown a willingness to make big signings in the past (Alex Rodriguez for $252 million is the prime example), and the Rangers were the one team who showed interest in Ramirez five winters ago when the Red Sox were shopping him (discussing a Ramirez for A-Rod deal at the time). With the Rangers about to lose the free agent Bradley, who was one of the best offensive players in the game last year (.999 OPS) to free agency, their interest in Ramirez has increased.
Despite Texas potentially joining the chase, the Dodgers and Giants appear, at this point, to be the most likely landing spots for Ramirez, who hit .396 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs in 53 games after being traded to the Dodgers last summer before batting .520 in the postseason.
As for the Rangers, GM Jon Daniels told mlb.com they were not currently pursuing Ramirez but he did not rule it out. The club is working on a number of things, most of them involving the pitching staff. They have interest in free-agent pitcher Ben Sheets, a terrific pitcher who was hampered by arm discomfort late last year. The injury is not believed to be serious but has caused his market to be slow to develop. Texas is also looking into bringing back reliever Eric Gagne, who pitched well for them the first half of 2007, and is considering other relief options, as well.
As to those currently on the roster, Texas has been fielding offers on veteran pitcher Vicente Padilla, with the Braves among the teams to show interest. They also have received a few inquiries on shortstop Michael Young, who has $62 million and five years left on his deal.