Notes: Free agents, C.J. Wilson, Joe Nathan, etc.
November, 23, 2011
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- A few other random notes that came out during or after the Joe Nathan news conference:
* Nathan's current Texas Rangers number is 63. He wore 36 in Minnesota, but that's C.J. Wilson's number. If the Rangers don't re-sign Wilson, Nathan would get that number. It's clear the Rangers are preparing for life without Wilson. GM Jon Daniels said Tuesday that the club is still interested, but they acknowledge he is exploring a market that isn't flush with starting pitching. He's going to get a well-deserved raise and the Rangers will have to decide if they can afford it. If not, they need to be prepared. No meeting is planned with Wilson at this point, but Daniels did let Bob Garber know about the Nathan signing and Neftali Feliz's move to the rotation. And the two sides could certainly meet in Dallas in a few weeks at the Winter Meetings.
* Daniels said bullpen help remains on the club's list of priorities. But don't take that to mean they aren't still looking at starters. That could mean free agents, though that list isn't particularly long (Mark Buehrle is in there and so is Roy Oswalt, though I think the Rangers will have more interest in Buehrle than Oswalt in part because of Oswalt's back issues) or trades. This team is creative when it comes to deals and if certain pitchers are available (like Matt Garza, for instance), they'll at least look into it.
* At this point, the Rangers don't appear to be ready to jump into the Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder sweepstakes. Daniels has said repeatedly that Mitch Moreland is the club's first baseman. His right wrist, which bothered him for the second half of 2011, was checked out by a doctor before Moreland went on his honeymoon. The doctor prescribed rest and will check Moreland out after his honeymoon ends. He's expected to be fine and fully ready for spring training. The Rangers want to find out exactly what they have in Moreland and the wrist soreness hampered their ability to fully evaluate him. Daniels said if Moreland's wrist is healthy, the job is his. He added the club always looks at ways to get better, but "is comfortable" where they're at in terms of first base. Jeff Caplan talked about Moreland in his post earlier this morning.
* We'll see if Yu Darvish gets posted (I would think he would with relatively thin crop of free agent starters on the market). Daniels himself, in addition to his scouts, have seen Darvish. If the Rangers add to the pitching staff, it's for a frontline starter. Darvish fits the bill, though it will be costly.
* Don't forget about Scott Feldman. Daniels even mentioned him in Tuesday's news conference after listing the current rotation, saying Feldman could get into the mix. He pitched well in the second half of the season in long relief and spot started some. The club always needs depth in the rotation and he is at least a guy who has had success that could be in long relief or in the rotation depending on what happens in the spring (And something always happens. See Tommy Hunter's groin).