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11/13/07 8:15 PM ET
Rogers, Hunter on Rangers' wish list
GM Daniels says club is preparing offers to targeted guys
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have expressed interest in bringing back pitcher Kenny Rogers, and have also begun their all-out pursuit of free-agent center fielder Torii Hunter.
Rogers is a free agent who was with the Detroit Tigers from 2006-07 but has spent 12 of his 19 years in the Major Leagues with the Rangers over three different tours. He began his career with the Rangers and pitched for them from 1989-95 and again in 2000-2002 and 2004-05.
He won 32 games for the Rangers from 2004-05 and was an All-Star both years, but the club declined to re-sign him after the 2005 season. He was suspended for 20 games for an altercation with television cameramen before a game on June 29, 2005. The suspension was later reduced to 13 games on appeal but ultimately led to a split between the club and player.
Apparently, the split may not be irreparable. Rogers still lives in the North Texas area and has pitched more games for the Rangers than anybody in club history. He is second in club history with 133 wins and 2,308 innings pitched.
"We'd be open to it under the right circumstances," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "Obviously, finances would be a part of it. But I'd only want it to be a positive homecoming."
The Rangers' major priorities this offseason are center field, relief pitching and possibly a corner outfielder or first baseman. But Daniels said the Rangers could look at improving a starting rotation that right now consists of Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Kason Gabbard, Edinson Volquez and Brandon McCarthy.
"We're looking only at specific guys," Daniels said. "It's not a blanket search."
Rogers, who turned 43 on Saturday, was 17-8 with a 3.84 ERA for the Tigers in 2006 and was selected to the American League All-Star team for the fourth time in his career. But he was limited to 11 starts for the Tigers in 2007 because of surgery to remove a blood clot in his left shoulder. He also had elbow inflammation and finished the season 3-4 with a 4.43 ERA.
Rogers, who is represented by Scott Boras, signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the Tigers after leaving the Rangers. The Tigers are interested in re-signing him and the Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets are other possibilities.
Hunter remains at the top of the Rangers' wish list. Rangers manager Ron Washington and Daniels had dinner with Hunter on Monday, and the club will likely make a formal offer later this week.
"We have not made any offers yet, but we're preparing a couple of offers to guys," Daniels said. "I don't like making widespread offers to guys and see who comes back first. We're going to be making offers to a few targeted guys."
The Rangers are also interested in re-signing a couple of their guys from last year. One is Eric Gagne, their closer for the first four months of the season who was traded to the Red Sox on July 31. The other is Jamey Wright, who ended the season in the Rangers bullpen.
"The bullpen is a priority," Daniels said.