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Patience is the key for the Rangers

SAN DIEGO -- The Texas Rangers leave the winter meetings without making a major move to upgrade their roster.

A small move was made Thursday afternoon when the club traded two minor leaguers to the Washington Nationals for left-handed pitcher Ross Detwiler.

Rangers GM Jon Daniels wasn't expected to make a major trade or signing this winter.

"Looking ahead, we have good players around our core," Daniels said. "We've done that in a couple of small areas, certainly not the sexy moves. We do baseball moves. That's still our mindset."

The Rangers were in talks with several mid-level starting pitchers, something that was an objective in obtaining during the meetings. They were in talks with Arizona for left-handed starter Wade Miley, but he was traded to Baltimore.

Discussions about signing free agent right-handed starter Justin Masterson went nowhere as Boston snagged him when it lost Jon Lester. Detroit traded righty Rick Porcello to Boston, Shane Greene was traded to Detroit in a three-way deal, Brando McCarthy signed a free agent deal worth $48 million and Cincinnati traded Mat Latos to Miami.

This isn't to say the Rangers wanted all of these pitchers, but the high-end pitchers -- Max Scherzer, James Shields and Lester -- weren't going to get a look from anyone authorized to approve a contract from the Rangers.

"Those guys are off the lists, that simple," Daniels said.

Daniels will sign someone to the starting rotation and it won't be somebody names Shields or Scherzer. Now that next tier group of pitchers, No. 3 starters mainly, is thinning out. Even Daniels admitted that Thursday.

If anything, Daniels and his staff received confirmation from opposing clubs that the organization has valuable talent in the minor league system. Financially, the Rangers can do anything they want, but Daniels is taking a more responsible approach to spending money. It sounds like Daniels has an inner salary cap. He doesn't want to go more than $133 million, and he might have roughly $10 million to play with.

Why take on an additional $12-15 million in salary for a player who will be with you for one season? Waiting for the right deal seems like the smart play, at least for now.

"I think we’ll add to the group," Daniels said regarding starting pitching. "I couldn’t really characterized what well add. We'll have additional options when we get to spring training. There is value. We've been aggressive, we’ve traded prospects, spent money and they’ll be at times when the best move is to be patient."

You can blame a 100 things as to why the Rangers lost 95 games last season. The objective is to improve and Daniels is of the belief players such as Prince Fielder, Shin-Soo Choo, Mitch Moreland and Yu Darvish will return better than ever from physical ailments. And there is hope that Elvis Andrus will rebound from his down season and Adrian Beltre won't start a decline.

Daniels has confidence that new manager Jeff Banister has the ability to merge young and veteran players into a clubhouse, hold them accountable and get them through a 162-game season to contend for the AL West.

If pitchers with one or two years left on their contracts are still available at the trade deadline next July, fine, then maybe the Rangers will do something.

Today? Probably not.

Tomorrow? Probably not.

"I felt like patience is pretty important," he said. "This time around."