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Texas Rangers rumors: Drew Stubbs, Shane Victorino on Rangers radar

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With Josh Hamilton's knee continuing to be an issue, the Rangers are reportedly monitoring the market for free agent outfielders

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Texas Rangers rumors:  Drew Stubbs and Shane Victorino are among the free agent outfielders that the Rangers have reportedly shown interest in -- Stubbs being linked to the Rangers by Jerry Crasnick, Victorino by Chris Cotillo -- and with Josh Hamilton's knee already giving him issues, we could be seeing the Rangers ramp up their pursuit of an outfielder this week.

As Evan Grant notes, Hamilton going to get a second opinion on his knee could prompt Texas to get more aggressive with the pool of outfielders who are still out there on the free agent market, which include former Rangers David Murphy and Will Venable.  The Rangers currently don't have a backup centerfielder, so someone like Stubbs or Venable who could play some center field would seemingly be preferable.  However, if Hamilton is going to miss significant time, the Rangers may want to focus more on a lefthanded hitter who can platoon with Justin Ruggiano in left field, which would make the righthanded hitting Stubbs less attractive.

The Rangers have supposedly only been offering minor league deals thusfar, and the 40 man roster is full, but with Tanner Scheppers out until the All Star Break after knee surgery, the Rangers could potentially open up a roster spot for a new addition by moving Scheppers to the 60 day d.l.  That said, it isn't entirely clear that the Rangers really think any of the folks out there on the market really warrant a guaranteed deal -- particularly with the possibility of one of their internal options seizing a job.  Patrick Kivlehan, Ryan Rua, Nomar Mazara and Lewis Brinson are all expected to start the season in AAA (and Joey Gallo as well, though he's supposedly going to be working primarily at third base this spring), but Rua started the 2015 season as the regular left fielder, and Mazara is someone who could end up coming in a hurry, so even if Hamilton is going to miss significant time, its not a given that whoever the Rangers scoop up will have the job for long anyway.

In any case, its kind of a mess...I think the hope was that Josh could stay healthy long enough for the internal options to get a couple of months of reps in AAA, and someone would rise above the pack and show that they were ready to handle the regular left field job by June or July.  Instead, it is looking more and more likely that Josh isn't going to be able to contribute much, if anything, in 2016, which means that the Rangers will either have to accelerate the timetable for one of the young outfielders, or go find a placeholder from outside the organization until one of the young guys is ready.