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Rangers trade rumors: Joe Nathan available in search of offense

In search of offense, the Rangers are dangling Joe Nathan to teams looking for relief help.

USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Rangers are actively shopping All-Star closer Joe Nathan in search of an established offensive piece, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney. With the potential suspension of outfielder Nelson Cruz likely coming soon, the team is pushing hard to deal from one of its strengths (closer) to strengthen their offensive weakness.

If the Rangers were to deal Nathan, Joakim Soria would take over as closer for the next two weeks. A source confirms that Neftali Feliz, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, will be ready for minor league rehab outings on August 4th with the goal of appearing in the majors on August 15th.

As Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com reported yesterday, the Rangers and Tigers have discussed the possibility of a deal involving Nathan.

That may still be possible, but Detroit's acquisition of Jose Veras likely means that they are content with the back end of their bullpen.

The Dodgers have been speculated to be the best fit for Nathan, and some have said they could be willing to part with pieces like Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford to get the deal done.

Other bullpen-needy teams like the Indians and Red Sox would probably not be able to acquire Nathan due to their status as AL contenders and lack of movable major league-ready offensive pieces.

The Rangers have been aggressive in their pursuit for offense, and have targeted bats like Alex Rios (White Sox), Hunter Pence (Giants), Marlon Byrd (Mets), Chris Denorfia (Padres), Justin Ruggiano (Marlins) and Kendrys Morales (Mariners).

While Rios is definitely available, the other options are less likely to be dealt before the deadline due to their teams' reluctance to sell and the high prices on the market. According to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, the Rangers have also targeted stars like Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins and Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays, who are all overwhelmingly likely to stay put at the deadline.

After giving up three top prospects to acquire Matt Garza from the Cubs, the Rangers would rather deal Nathan, a pending free agent with immense value on the trade market, then another piece for the future. If the team aspires to deal for an impact bat, they may have to part with Nathan to do so.

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