JUPITER -- Texas is not confident it can acquire Cole Hamels, and has now broadened its search for pitching help. The Rangers are looking for a left-handed arm, and according to Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News and Clark Spencer of The Miami Herald, Miami and Texas are discussing a deal that would send Brad Hand to the Rangers. Andrew McKirahan, the club's Rule 5 draft pick, can also be dealt before the end of the spring.
Hand, 25, is out of minor league options and posted a 4.38 ERA and 4.20 FIP in 111.0 innings pitched last season. He made 16 starts for the Marlins in 2014, and posted a 1.36 WHIP. Hand cannot be sent to the minors without clearing waivers, and as a result, Miami may try to receive a mid-level prospect in a deal involving him.
The Marlins' rotation is expected to include Henderson Alvarez, Mat Latos, Jarred Cosart, Dan Haren, and Tom Koehler, with David Phelps an option to make the club as a long reliever. As a result, Hand, who has posted a 2.25 ERA to complement six walks and four strikeouts in eight innings pitched this spring, may be expendable.
Hand was in the same situation last spring, and is just looking to become consistent heading into the season.
"I was in the same spot last spring," Hand said before Miami's contest against Atlanta on Friday. "Just coming in, I have to pitch my game. I like it here. It's a bunch of good guys. It's gonna be a great year for us. Something I'd like to be a part of. I'd really like to be here."
While the Rangers are interested in Hand, the club may also be in pursuit of McKirahan to complement Alex Claudio in the bullpen. If he does not make the 25-man roster, McKirahan would be sent back to the Cubs. The Marlins would like to receive something in return for the lefty should he not be a candidate to win a bullpen spot.
Miami lost several prospects this offseason, including top pitching prospect Andrew Heaney, and as a result may try to add depth to their minor league system before the end of spring training.