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08/23/08 8:09 PM ET
Rangers focused on wins, not trades
Winning record, second-place finish would show improvement
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' two-week slump has taken them out of contention for the Wild Card, but it doesn't appear as if it will turn them into "sellers" before the next trade deadline. The Rangers appear more intent on finishing with a winning record and in second place in the American League West than they do trying to get whatever they can for some veteran players. "First of all, we're not looking to do that," Texas general manager Jon Daniels said before Saturday's game with the Indians. "Secondly, it's a demand-driven market. If somebody has a need, they'll call us. It's just like always, you get some phone calls, but I'm not having any conversations at this point that will lead to a deal." The July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline has passed, but deals remain possible. The Dodgers acquired pitcher Greg Maddux from the Padres earlier this week. There are two ways deals can be made. If a player clears waivers, they can be traded anywhere. If a player is claimed on waivers by another team, he can be at least traded to that team instead of being pulled back by his former team. The importance of the Aug. 31 deadline is any player acquired after that date can not be included on a postseason roster. Some Rangers have already cleared waivers. Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla and Frank Catalanotto have cleared without being claimed. Others have been claimed and pulled back. Who clears and who hasn't is not always made public. Daniels refuses to comment on specific players. He did acknowledge that the Rangers have received some interest in their bullpen but nothing serious or imminent. Eddie Guardado and Jamey Wright can both be free agents, but the Rangers won't simply give either away. Clubs aren't offering much, and there doesn't appear to be a great urgency among contending teams to make trades right now. Most have already made their best moves before the July 31 Deadline and are going with what they have. The Yankees were believed to be interested in outfielder Milton Bradley but weren't offering much in return. Texas would rather try to re-sign him in the offseason or get Draft pick compensation if he signs with another team. The Rangers also still want to win as many games as possible. "I think there's value in playing well and winning as many games as we can," Daniels said. "It's something for the club and the organization to build on. It's been a rough two weeks for wins and losses, but our guys haven't let up at all." Texas went into Saturday's game having lost 12 of its last 15 games and had fallen to three games under .500. But the club remains in second place in the American League West, and club president Nolan Ryan said he'd still like for the Rangers to finish with a winning record. "The value of having a winning record is it shows we've made improvement over the last year," Ryan said. "I think our fans feel that way and I feel like we've made progress. ... I'd like it to be reflected with a winning record and finishing second in our division." The Rangers have had just one winning season in the last eight years and haven't finished higher than third in their four-team division since their last division title in 1999.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.