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Potential Trade Deadline Targets

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    NEWSLETTERS

    With recent events creating an extremely guarded sense of confidence in Derek Holland, and in turn, the entire Rangers starting rotation, the target for the Texas Rangers is to upgrade in the bullpen, moreso now than it's already been.

    Unless a full-fledged ace lands on the trade market, which right now, seems highly unlikely, the Rangers will stick with C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison, Alexi Ogando and Holland, and try to upgrade a bullpen that basically has Darren Oliver, Mark Lowe??? and Neftali Feliz, with an unproven, yet promising in the role version of Tommy Hunter.

    So, with Francisco Rodriguez being shipped off to Milwaukee from the Mets, the premier name on the market out of the bullpen is without a doubt Heath Bell, the lovable closer from the San Diego Padres.

    Bell has said he would be open to setting up for a new team's closer, as K-Rod will do for the Brewers, but he would make an immediate impact as a lockdown guy for the eighth inning to set up Feliz in the ninth. When the postseason rolls around, you're expecting your starters to go at least 7 innings anyway.

    He will be the Rangers' No. 1 target with the draw back being that he's a rent-a-player, even moreso than Cliff Lee was last year. By all accounts, he's headed back to the Padres next year when he's a free agent. Bell will also cost the Rangers an arm and a leg when it comes to prospects.

    The next on the list is Washington Nationals set-up man Tyler Clippard, who picked up the win for the National League in the All-Star Game on Tuesday. Clippard is young and the Rangers would control him past this season, that's a plus. He's not nearly as proven as Bell, but he's got his skins on the wall, having given up just two earned runs in more than 16 innings pitched.

    Joel Hanrahan was a top target a few weeks back, but the surprising Pittsburgh Pirates under first-year manager and former Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle are right in the thick of things in the NL Central. What message would it send their fans to trade away their closer when they are winning for the first time in 20 years? Not a good one. It's not likely Hanrahan, and his 26 saves this season, will be dealt. Like Bell, Hanrahan would be a free agent at the end of this season.

    There's some other names out there, but those three are the most intriguing for different reasons.