Adrian Beltre was always the first part of Plan B for the Rangers.
But Jim Thome was always Plan B, Part II, after Cliff Lee turned down Texas to return to Philadelphia.
And Plan B, Part III will see Neftali Feliz and Alexi Ogando in a spring training audition for a spot in the starting rotation.
The Rangers have strong interest in Thome, as has been reported elsewhere. But Thome has strong emotional ties to the Twins, the team he played for in 2010, and the Rangers have some concern that Thome will choose to return to Minnesota, if that option is available to him.
It's not expected that Thome would be an everyday player with either team. In Texas, he would be a part-time designated hitter, with Michael Young expected to get most of the at-bats at DH. The same would be true in Minnesota, where, where the return of Justin Morneau from a concussion would shift Michael Cuddyer back to the outfield and put Thome back in the part-time role he had at the start of 2010.
While the Rangers are pursuing Thome, it's not at all certain that they would go after another DH type if Thome goes to the Twins instead.
Remember, when the Rangers lost out on Lee, they didn't go after another starting pitcher.
Texas had talks with the Royals about Zack Greinke and talks with the Rays about Matt Garza, but in both cases decided that the price would be far too high in terms of prospects.
Instead, the Rangers plan to approach their rotation the same way they did last year, by looking at two relievers for one starting spot. It was Feliz and C.J. Wilson last year, and the Rangers chose right, as Wilson went on to 15 wins and Feliz went on to become a Rookie of the Year closer.
Despite Feliz's success in the bullpen, the Rangers plan to stretch him out again this spring. Should they choose Feliz to start, Ogando could become the closer, although Frank Francisco is also available. At this point, the Rangers aren't pursuing free-agent closer Rafael Soriano.