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Sunday, December 5, 2010
Rangers get ready for busy week

By Richard Durrett

ORLANDO -- The Rangers were certainly active at the Winter Meetings last year and come into the meetings this year with a few needs and hopes of starting to get some things resolved. Most of the staff arrives tonight and will be ready to get to work meeting with a variety of folks near DisneyWorld in Orlando. A few things to keep an eye on:

* Cliff Lee. Darek Braunecker, Lee's agent, says a handful of teams have shown plenty of interest. But conventional wisdom is that this is a choice between Texas and New York. We'll see if enough progress is made with either party for Lee to make a decision this week. The Rangers have visited with him twice and will do what they can to keep him. If the Yankees open their checkbook and land the pitcher, the Rangers will shift attention elsewhere. If the Rangers land Lee, don't think that's the end of their offseason, either. They still have room in the budget and needs they can address.

* Paul Konerko. Now that Adam Dunn and Lance Berkman are off the market, the Rangers' interest in Konerko -- and they do have interest -- could increase. Konerko makes sense for the club. He's a right-handed hitter who can play first and complement the left-handed hitting Mitch Moreland. And, obviously, Konerko can DH. Texas would prefer a DH on a one-year deal and Vladimir Guerrero is trying to get a multi-year deal. That doesn't mean Guerrero won't end up in Texas, but the club is exploring all of those options.

* Carl Crawford. You have to remember that the Rangers' staff is known for checking in on everything and that's why you'll see their name attached to many of the top players. SI.com's Jon Heyman tweeted the club was in on Crawford. I'm hearing it's more of a "checking in" at this point and we'll see whether it turns into more interest. The Rangers are happy with their outfield, but Crawford is a special talent. So you don't just ignore that. We'll see if Texas gets a little more interested.

* Zack Greinke. The Rangers have the minor league system and players that could entice the Royals to move the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner. The question is how high the price is -- and it appears pretty high right now -- and whether the Royals might elect to wait until the trade deadline to try to deal him. He is under contract through the 2012 season.

* Free agent starters. There's still a list of players out there, though it's been shortened. Over the next few days, we'll explore some of those on this blog and see if any make sense for Texas and whether they should be involved in that process. But they also have some internal options for the rotation, so they aren't under extreme pressure in terms of the free-agent market.

So stay tuned. We'll be here all week sharing what we're hearing in the lobby of the hotel and writing what the Rangers trying to do to solidify the roster. It should be fun.