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Free agent starter market shrinking some

It turns out that the Rangers aren't feverishly working to try to land Andy Pettitte. Rangers president Nolan Ryan did speak to Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte. However, the conversation was not about playing for Texas in 2011 and was more of a congratulatory call from Pettitte to Ryan after the ALCS.

Pettitte has said he wants to play for the Yankees (if he doesn't retire, which doesn't seem likely). So don't expect to see Texas making a hard play at Pettitte.

But that certainly won't stop the Rangers from looking at starting pitching. And the options for solid free-agent starters not named Cliff Lee is shrinking some. Jon Garland has signed with the Dodgers. Ted Lilly got a three-year deal in LA. Looks like Javier Vazquez is headed to Florida and Jorge De La Rosa to Colorado.

Of course, none of those names are in the elite starter category. But they are viable options for rotations and are coming off the market before the Winter Meetings convene next week in Orlando, Fla. Carl Pavano is probably the biggest starter left that isn't named Lee. Pavano has an injury history, but was 31-23 with a 4.39 ERA the last two seasons (in 420 1/3 innings with Cleveland and Minnesota). He had 264 strikeouts and 76 walks. I'm interested, but not wowed by the idea. We'll talk in the next few days about some other options for Texas on the free-agent or trade market.

But it shows how valuable starting pitching is that teams aren't waiting around to fork over big money to get them.