"We've always had a good relationship with Adam and with the organization and Nellie," Daniels said as he chatted with the club's beat writers during baseball's winter meetings. "Both sides have been upfront. Nothing really to report, but conversations are amicable in nature."
Daniels added that he "didn't know if anything would come of it."
But the club would like to add another bat to the lineup and Cruz is one of the few remaining that has shown power and production in his career. Shin-Soo Choo is also available and the Rangers have interest, as we noted earlier.
Daniels said he didn't have another meeting planned with Katz, but that it was likely they would talk again.
More from Daniels:
- He said for the club to make another move it has to be "the right fit, otherwise we're content with where we're at." But don't take that to mean the Rangers will stand pat. They are interested in further upgrading the lineup and will go about trying to do that at these meetings and beyond.
- The front office has laid the groundwork with clubs already, so Daniels said Rangers brass hasn't had the need for quite as many sit-down sessions as in the past.
- As of now, Mitch Moreland is the club's designated hitter. Texas could look to add a right-handed bat to complement Moreland if the Rangers don't end up dealing him. "Whether it's an everyday guy or somebody that complements what we already have, we're looking at both of those options," Daniels said.
- Daniels said the club isn't "looking to trade" Moreland, but "anything that can fit that makes us better, we're open to." Got that?
"I'd like production," Washington said when asked what he wants. "Probably a middle-of-the-order guy. Run production."
Washington went on to explain that with Leonys Martin set to lead off, barring another signing, he'd rather see the club utilize its resources on someone who can drive in runs from that key portion of the lineup.
Obviously, there are still a few guys on the free-agent market who could do that, but Nelson Cruz has to be close to the top of the list. The Rangers have interest in Shin-Soo Choo, who offers production, but does so from the leadoff spot.
The Rangers met with Cruz's agent on Monday in Orlando, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney. The plan is for the two sides to meet again. Olney notes that the Rangers are comfortable right now with two years and maybe an option for the right-handed hitting outfielder. Cruz wants at least three years. So we'll see when and if this gets done.
If the current team stays basically the same, Washington said he'd use Mitch Moreland in a variety of roles.
"Mitch has played a little outfield. He will play some first base, and Prince will get a spell," Washington said. "He can also slide in the DH spot. So there are still at-bats there from Mitch, and we certainly intend on using them."
The obvious advantage to Cruz is the Rangers know him and know what he can do. But he's 33 years old and the Rangers want to be sure they have what they feel is the right contract length. Cruz has also dealt with his share of injuries, likely the biggest reason Texas would like to keep the contract shorter. Stay tuned.
Today's player: Michael Morse
The Rangers have some interest in Morse, almost as a backup plan should things fall through with other options (as first reported by Joel Sherman of The New York Post). Of course, most of the talk when it comes to filling the left field spot belongs to Shin-Soo Choo. But what if the price for Choo escalates to the point where the Rangers don't want to pay?
Morse would be a more budget-conscious move. But he comes with a risk. Morse was injured much of last season and was eventually shut down in September with a left wrist injury (he was dealing with ligament issues before that). He was acquired from Seattle by the Orioles at the end of August, but ended up playing in just 12 games in Baltimore. He played in 76 for Seattle and hit .215 with 13 homers and 27 RBIs in 2013.
But from 2010 to 2012 with the Washington Nationals, Morse hit .296 and averaged 21 homers and 66 RBIs. He had a .861 OPS in that span.
Why he makes sense: Morse has power and is a right-handed batter who can not only play in the outfield, but also first base if needed. He played mainly in the corner outfield spots in 2013. If Morse is healthy and can revert back to the player he was just two seasons ago, the Rangers could get good value for him on a shorter-term deal than anything they'd pay on Choo.
Why he doesn't make sense: The best combination for Texas would be someone who consistently gets on base, has some power and can lead off. Choo, a left-handed hitter, fits that description much better than Morse. And with some of the big-money teams already signing their outfielders, perhaps with some patience, Choo's price doesn't end up in Jacoby Ellsbury territory and the Rangers are ready to take advantage.
Bottom line: I like Morse as a good backup plan should Texas not get the player they want for left field in free agency or even via trade. If the medicals show the wrist is fine, Morse put up solid power numbers for three seasons before last year. I think it would be worth it to see if it was, in fact, the injury.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox, baseball's winningest managers over the past four decades, were unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame on Monday by the expansion era committee.
All three won more than 2,000 games and were selected on all 16 ballots when the committee met Sunday ahead of baseball's winter meetings.
"Managing against them, you certainly learned things," said Torre, now an executive vice president for Major League Baseball. "I am honored to go into the Hall with these two guys."
The induction ceremony will be July 27 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
"They say when you're voted to the Hall of Fame your life changes," Cox said. "And it has. I've got goose bumps, and it's the greatest honor that we could ever have."
Torre became the fifth manager to win four World Series championships, leading the New York Yankees to titles in 1996 and from 1998 to 2000 -- beating Cox's Braves twice. After making only one trip to the playoffs in 14 seasons with the New York Mets, St. Louis and Atlanta, Torre guided the Yankees to the postseason in all 12 of his years in the Bronx with a cool, patient demeanor.
His popularity rankled owner George Steinbrenner, who didn't receive the necessary 75 percent of the vote for election in his second appearance on the ballot.
"I think it is a mistake," Yankees president Randy Levine told ESPNNewYork.com. "I congratulate Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa. All of them were thoroughly deserving, but I think there is no doubt that George Steinbrenner was one of the greatest figures in the history of the game. He, more than anybody, deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. I fully expect he will be one day."
Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and his staff didn't waste any time jumping into the fray of this offseason. They traded for power-hitting first baseman Prince Fielder, agreed to terms with two catchers (J.P. Arencibia's deal isn't done until he passes a physical) and acquired Michael Choice from the Oakland A's, giving them another option in left field should nothing else materialize.
But the club still has money in the bank and some assets in the minor leagues, meaning that the Rangers can go shopping for items still on the shelves. With the baseball world descending to Disney World, though, those shelves aren't what they were a month ago. Heck, they're not what they were just a week ago. It's been an active offseason with more early signings (and even trades) than normal.
Possibilities still remain, though. Choice is a young player with high potential, but the Rangers continue to search for another bigger bat for the lineup. The question is whether they'll find the prices to their liking this week. Now that Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran are off the market Shin-Soo Choo becomes a player to watch. There are some that expect Choo to get close to Ellsbury's seven-year, $153 million deal. If that's where it ends up, I'm not sure the Rangers will be the team that signs him. They must decide if Choo is worth that many years.
Nelson Cruz is available, though Texas appears hesitant for anything past two or three years for the outfielder, who may want to see if he can get a four-year deal elsewhere. If he does leave, the Rangers would receive a draft pick in return (and if they sign Choo, for instance, they would lose one).
Disney World isn't a bad spot to discuss trades and those teams with a surplus of outfielders might at least check in with Texas to see if there's anything that makes sense. The Rangers could also look to fill some bench spots and add to the club's starting pitching depth. David Price's name could be circulated and the Rangers would have to at least discuss the possibility, but if that's not in the cards, they could grab some more arms to bring to spring training and see what happens.
One other thing to keep an eye on: the posting situation with Masahiro Tanaka. If he is posted and the deal agreed upon is a maximum of $20 million posting fee per team with Tanaka choosing the team if there are more than one with that fee, why not jump in if you're Texas and see what happens? It's a long shot, but you never know.
We'll be keeping an eye on all of it.
Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram agrees that the Rangers may not be done adding some big bats to their lineup. "The popular thought is that the talented but unproven (Michael Choice) isn't the everyday answer in left field and that the Rangers can find a more consistent hitter than Mitch Moreland to be their primary designated hitter," Wilson writes.
He goes on to suggest that Shin-Soo Choo and his .389 career on-base percentage would add pop to the top of the lineup. Choo is believed to be a better option that Nelson Cruz who is said to be seeking a four-year deal. The Rangers, according to Wilson, do not want to offer him more than two years and perhaps a third-year option.
David SchoenfieldAL West: Three questions for each team
"If the Rangers don't want to lose their first-round pick for signing Choo, maybe they dig into the farm system. How about going after Jose Bautista or Matt Kemp/Andre Ethier?"
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What do they need? The A's were busy last week, acquiring closer Jim Johnson from the Orioles, signing starter Scott Kazmir, and trading for outfielder Craig Gentry and reliever Luke Gregerson, a slick flurry of moves by Billy Beane. They could still upgrade second base; Eric Sogard played well there last year, but he's more of a utility infielder. The A's could also acquire a better defensive shortstop and move Jed Lowrie to second base.
Any moves left? Beane would love to unload Brett Anderson, the talented lefty who has made just 24 starts the past three seasons and is due $8 million in 2014 (plus a $1.5 million buyout). Beane will likely wait for the remaining free-agent starters to get inked and shop Anderson to those teams who didn't get one of the expensive guys.
Can they win a third straight division title? Sure. Like the past two seasons, it's a roster built on depth more than star power. The big question is whether Sonny Gray can replace Bartolo Colon, who went 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA in 30 starts. He certainly looked good down the stretch and in the postseason. Even if they trade Anderson, they still have six starters, with Tommy Milone now the odd man out. If Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick hit like they did in 2012, the offense should pick up some of the slack for a rotation that may be quite as good.
What do they need? Another middle-of-the-order bat. The Rangers were seventh in the AL in runs scored, which playing in their home park means the offense was mediocre at best. Prince Fielder will help and Jurickson Profar should come close to matching what Ian Kinsler gave them at second base, but right now the outfield would be Alex Rios, Leonys Martin and rookie Michael Choice (acquired from Oakland) with Mitch Moreland at DH.
So, Shin-Soo Choo? Assuming they let Nelson Cruz walk (as they should), and with Mike Napoli going back to Boston, Choo is the big target left. Expect a bidding war between the Rangers, Tigers and Mariners.
Any trades? If the Rangers don't want to lose their first-round pick for signing Choo, maybe they dig into the farm system. How about going after Jose Bautista or Matt Kemp/Andre Ethier?
Los Angeles Angels
What do they need? Besides Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton to play better? Starting pitching. Right now the rotation would be Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Garrett Richards, Joe Blanton (ouch) and Matt Shoemaker (who?). Hey, about bringing back Ervin Santana?
Does anybody really want Mark Trumbo? The Angels used one trade chip (Peter Bourjos) to acquire David Freese and they're hoping Trumbo will land them a solid starter, but general managers will see his .294 OBP as much as his 34 home runs. The Orioles are a possibility, but there just isn't a big market for first basemen and the Angels likely overvalue Trumbo.
Where will Howie Kendrick be in 2014? Probably not with the Angels. A trade to the Royals for some of their bullpen depth makes sense, and the Braves would like to upgrade over Dan Uggla. The Angels could slot Grant Green at second if prospect Taylor Lindsey isn't ready.
What do they need? More than Robinson Cano. They need help in the outfield, a No. 3 starter to put behind Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma and a designated hitter. Right now, the back of the rotation would include rookies Taijuan Walker and James Paxton, with Erasmo Ramirez and Brandon Maurer battling for the fifth spot. The outfield would be Michael Saunders, Dustin Ackley and Abraham Almonte.
Will they spend more money? They're going to try. They were definitely interested in Napoli, since they could use a right-handed batter to help balance out a lefty-heavy lineup. They may bring back Kendrys Morales, especially since there will be lukewarm interest in him after he was given a qualifying offer. The big catch would be Choo to play a corner outfield spot and give them a nice OBP guy in front of Cano.
Could they really land David Price? Sure, if they're willing to give up Walker and second baseman Nick Franklin, they could probably get the former Cy Young winner from the Rays. Preferably, they find a way to keep Walker and use Franklin as the main bait to get somebody like Jeff Samardzija from the Cubs.
What do they need? Patience.
Hey, they signed Scott Feldman and traded for Dexter Fowler. Anything else in the works? GM Jeff Luhnow has said he'll upgrade the bullpen, which was historically awful last season. Hey, Mariano Rivera is a free agent.
Which prospects will arrive this year? Outfielder George Springer, who hit 37 home runs and stole 43 bases between Double-A and Triple-A, could break camp with the big league team. First baseman Jonathan Singleton will need more time in Triple-A after a disappointing season but could arrive at midseason. Mark Appel, last June's first overall pick, will be on the fast track and could reach Houston sometime this season.
Various reports have the deal at $1.8 million for 2014, with up to $300,000 in incentives. Arencibia must first pass a physical, and the icy weather in the Dallas-Fort Worth area could delay that.
Arencibia, who turns 28 in January, struggled last season with the Toronto Blue Jays. He hit just .194, and his .227 on-base percentage would have been the lowest in the big leagues if he had enough at-bats to qualify.
But Arencibia, who was drafted in the first round in 2007, has shown power since making his professional debut. He had 21 homers and 55 RBIs in 2013 and has averaged 20 homers in his three full seasons.
Arencibia was arbitration-eligible this offseason, but the Blue Jays decided not to tender him a contract, making him a free agent.
Texas will go into next season with Geovany Soto as its primary catcher and Arencibia as the backup. Arencibia played in 138 games last season.
* It signals that the Mariners are going all-in now to attempt to compete. Cano by himself will certainly add interest and value to the franchise, but does he add enough wins to make them competitive? Probably not. That's why it's a perplexing decision by Seattle, who must believe that Cano will help with attendance and that he's the first step in many that need to happen for them to compete with Oakland and Texas consistently. And that's why it wouldn't be surprising to see the Mariners continue to spend -- or look to make some trades -- in an effort to upgrade now. Maybe they look at Shin-Soo Choo or perhaps a deal for David Price. But don't make the mistake of thinking this is it for the Mariners. If you're spending this much money on Cano, you've got to get more pieces around him.
* Man, you've got to love the AL West. Big spenders, GMs not afraid to make trades and some rivalries that should just get better.
* This puts the New York Yankees in the market for other free agents that interest the Rangers, namely Choo and Carlos Beltran. So it adds one more team with some money into the mix as the Rangers attempt to upgrade their lineup.
* It also means one more big name is off the board before anybody boards a flight to Orlando for the Winter Meetings. It puts Beltran and Choo at center stage in terms of free agents and Price as the biggest trade piece. But unlike the last few years, many of the names we thought we'd be discussing in the lobby are already signed.
* Will this mean a rush to get deals done with Beltran and Choo for fear of them coming off the board? We'll see.
* One more bit of AL West news: Scott Feldman is back in the division. And for more proof that salaries just keep climbing, Feldman got three years and $30 million from the Houston Astros, according to reports.
Today's issue: Could Winter Meetings be where David Price's market heats up?
Since it's cold and icy out there, let's talk more Hot Stove. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported this week that the market for Tampa Bay Rays' ace David Price is expected to heat up. And as you might expect, he lists the Rangers among the teams interested.
The Rays, of course, don't have to trade Price, who won the Cy Young Award in 2012. They have another competitive team and could roll with Price and see what happens. But if the Rays want to get the full value of trading Price, now is the time to deal him. He's got two years remaining on his contract and should land a nice prospect haul, considering how thin the starting pitching market is now.
Price finished the regular season in Arlington for Game 163 and gave up two runs on seven hits in a complete-game win to send the Rays to the AL wild-card game in Cleveland.
Besides paying Price -- MLB Trade Rumors thinks he'll make around $13.1 million in 2014 -- he's going to cost plenty in terms of prospects. That's what you'd expect. The question is what kind of price the Rangers would be willing to pay and how it might compare with what other teams are offering the Rays.
Tampa Bay likely won't be picky about any specific positions of need. They'll want the best package they can get. If the Rangers put Jurickson Profar in the mix, that would put them on par with just about anything anybody else can offer. But does it make sense to put Profar in a deal now that Ian Kinsler has been dealt? The club has some young, middle-infield talent beyond Profar, but they made the Prince Fielder deal in part to free up the space to play Profar.
Could the Rangers make a deal for Price without Profar? Possibly. There's plenty of young talent in the system, but for a player like Price, you would think other teams will dangle their top prospect, so it would depend on the package. Texas has power-hitting prospects, middle infielders and pitching at various parts of the lower levels of the minor-league system (names like Rougned Odor, Luke Jackson, Joey Gallo, Luis Sardinas and others). The Rays will likely want some sort of major-league starter in addition to whatever prospect package comes their way, so it could mean parting with someone currently in the rotation.
As we've seen in the past, the Rangers won't hesitate to talk and try to get creative. And if Price is made available, especially as the general managers gather in Orlando next week, you can bet the Rangers will be exploring the possibility. It's tough not to imagine what a rotation fronted by Price and Yu Darvish could do, isn't it? The question is whether, at this point, it's now too much to give up for him (signing him to an extension, perhaps having 48 hours to do so for the trade to go through, would be critical).
With so many free agents already off the board and a few big trades already in the books, Price's name could be one that we hear often next week in Disney World.
You got a package you'd be willing to send the Rays for Price? Tell us in the comment section and we'll discuss.
Arencibia, who turns 28 in January, was nontendered by the Toronto Blue Jays earlier this week, becoming a free agent. The Rangers had expressed interest in Arencibia even before he was nontendered, liking his power.
In 2013, Arencibia hit just .194 and posted a .227 on-base percentage, which would have been the lowest in the majors had he qualified. Despite the low average, Arencibia still managed 21 homers (second among all catchers) and 55 RBIs.
Perhaps going to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington could help the right-handed hitter's power numbers even more. Arencibia struck out 148 times and walked just 18 times. But the power has been fairly consistent. He's averaged 20 homers in his three full major league seasons after showing power in the minors, as well.
The Rangers signed Geovany Soto earlier this offseason and named him the primary catcher. They explored other options, but didn't want to pay the high prices for catchers such as Brian McCann and Carlos Ruiz.
Contreras, who will turn 42 on Friday, spent last season with the Pittsburgh and Boston organizations. His only major league action came with the Pirates in May, when he allowed five runs over five innings in seven relief outings. Contreras had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in June of 2012 and spent spring training rehabbing.
Conteras has a 78-67 career record with a 4.57 ERA over 299 games (175 starts) with Yankees, White Sox, Rockies, Phillies and Pirates. If he appears for the Rangers next season, Contreras would be second to only Nolan Ryan among oldest players in club history.
Adcock, 25, split last season in the Kansas City and Arizona organizations, going a combined 8-6 with a 6.67 ERA in 26 games (19 starts) for Omaha and Reno in the Pacific Coast League.
Petersen, 27, batted .275 with 33 doubles, eight home runs and 49 RBIs in 136 games with New Orleans (AAA) in the Miami Marlins organization last season.
Winter league update: Neftali Feliz has a 1.80 ERA in five innings pitched with six strikeouts over 5 relief appearances for Este of the Dominican Winter League. ... OF Engel Beltre is hitting .364 (8-for-22) with two doubles, four RBIs and three runs scored over his last six games with Licey. ... LHP Joseph Ortiz has four straight scoreless appearances (4 2/3 innings pitched) with a pair of saves for La Guaira in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Emily Jones was hired by the team and will serve as the on-field reporter and host of "Rangers Insider," a weekly show on Fox Sports Southwest.
This will be Busby's second full season as the play-by-play voice in the TV booth after transitioning from radio. Grieve returns for his 20th season in the booth.
"For the past few years, I've considered taking some games off to spend additional time with my family during the summer," Grieve said in the club's release. "This will allow me to do some things that I haven't had the opportunity to previously do. I really appreciate the Rangers and FOX Sports Southwest allowing me to do this."
The radio crew remains the same with Eric Nadel and Matt Hicks calling the games on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and Mike Peasley serving as pregame and postgame host and fill-in voice when needed.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.