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Rangers discussing various scenarios if Josh Hamilton leaves

By Scott Miller | Senior Baseball Columnist

If Josh Hamilton departs via free agency, general manager Jon Daniels says finding an outfielder will not become a bigger priority for the Rangers than it was at the beginning of the offseason.

Translation: The Rangers continue to assess both their team and the free agent and trade markets this winter.

Even though there are plenty of outfielders on the market, the Rangers very well might decide not to pursue one of them if Hamilton departs because a starting pitcher could wind up being their top priority. Sources have them very interested in free agent Zack Greinke.

But if their pursuit of pitching falls through and Hamilton leaves -- then, maybe their priorities shift to an outfielder.

Speaking on a conference call Thursday, Daniels said the Rangers would “not necessarily” place a bigger priority on acquiring an outfielder than they did at the beginning of the offseason if Hamilton leaves.

“We're very comfortable with David Murphy and Nellie Cruz at the corners, and we have Leonys Martin, Craig Gentry and Julio Borbon,” Daniels said. “I don't know that if Josh isn't back that we feel we're in a situation where we need to add an outfielder.

“We may. But it wouldn't necessarily be our first priority.”

Of course, the Rangers took a hard run at the Diamondbacks' Justin Upton earlier this month, according to sources, but balked when Arizona wanted young infielder Jurickson Profar in return.

The Rangers were so interested Upton, sources say, they even engaged the Braves in trade talks, attempting to acquire Atlanta's young infielder Andrelton Simmons and then flip him to the Diamondbacks to fulfill Arizona's demand for a young shortstop. No go with that, either.

So far, there is no indication Texas is pursuing free agent center fielder Michael Bourn. Colleague Jon Heyman lists Shane Victorino as a possibility for the Rangers.

Daniels indicated Thursday that Profar might well play a big role on Texas' 2013 team, noting that depending on how things play out, both Profar and Martin could emerge as key figures next season.

Having separated the emotions of blowing the AL West title in the season's final days and then getting bounced in the wild-card game by Baltimore, the Rangers are working through various blueprints and multiple scenarios for taking aim at re-gaining their AL West title.

“Tell you what,” Daniels said. “We've looked at varieties of different things toward improving our club, some relatively minor, some involving giving some younger guys a chance, [injecting] a little youth, energy and enthusiasm, some veteran moves and some combination of all of the above.

“We're not looking to turn it over. We have a good young club with a good core. We like our team.

“We also have an opportunity to upgrade, and we're looking at doing that.”

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