Rangers like Alex Rios in OF hunt, but may wait on Stanton, Pence

Alex Rios currently appears to top the Rangers' long list of outfield targets. But one person with knowledge of their talks cautions that the sides are "not close'' and the Rangers will likely wait to see if any even bigger hitters shake free, such as Giancarlo Stanton, Michael Cuddyer, Jose Bautista or Hunter Pence.

With none from that foursome seemingly likely to be dealt -- Pence, the UT-Arlington product, is probably the likeliest -- Rios may wind up as Texas' best bet to fill its outfield need. The Rangers also have been talking about Chris Denorfia, Marlon Byrd and Justin Ruggiano, though Rios surely ranks ahead of those players with Texas in "win now" mode (a third World Series appearance in four years would be mighty impressive in this day and age) and budget room to make a big deal.

The Rangers and other teams continue to be told Stanton won't be traded, Rockies ownership has said Cuddyer is unavailable and the Giants have seemed reluctant to trade Pence -- though that may change if they continue to lose as the July 31 trade deadline approaches. Danny Knobler also wrote that the Rangers recently looked at Bautista and teammate Edwin Encarnacion in the unlikely event those two become available.

But Rios would fill the need, too, as an outfielder with speed and power.

One more positive: his six-team no-trade clause doesn't include the Rangers.

It also doesn't include the Pirates, though one potential hurdle there could be Pittsburgh's willingness to add a $12.5-million-a-year player.

There was a report in the New York Post that Rios had Yankees on his list, which allowed him to nix the idea of going to New York, leading to the Yankees' acquisition of old friend Alfonso Soriano. However, Rios' agent said Paul Kinzer said, "It was never brought to us. We never were given the opportunity to consider the Yankees. He actually had an interest in the Yankees.'' Asked whether Rios would have accepted a deal to the Yankees, Kinzer answered, "Probably."

The White Sox also have the option of keeping Rios, as he is signed through 2014 at a fair rate.

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