Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Texas Rangers [Print without images]

Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Rangers zero in on C.J. Wilson tonight

By Richard Durrett

DALLAS -- Once the Rangers affiliate dinner is completed (an annual dinner for all of the coaches, scouts and officials that deal with the minor-league affiliates), general manager Jon Daniels and his front office staff will turn their attention to a late-night meeting with Bob Garber, C.J. Wilson's agent.

The sentiment within the Rangers' camp is that if the annual salary on Wilson is about the same as Mark Buehrle, they need to explore exactly what kind of term Wilson could get. It's that term that could decide Wilson's fate in Texas. You won't see Texas making any six-year offers and five may be out of the comfort zone too.

But, as Nolan Ryan said earlier Tuesday, the club is comfortable with Wilson and knows what he can do. He proved that he can pitch innings, yet is still learning his craft as a starter. Buehrle has a much longer track record -- 11 full seasons of 200-plus innings -- and is 20 months older. And he's likely to get a contract that is shorter-term, which the club prefers.

"We know what C.J. is capable of doing," Ryan said. “We really, truly believe in C.J. that he can handle the workload, that he keeps you in ballgames, that he’s competitive. You don’t have to worry about him being in shape. We’re more familiar and more comfortable with him than anyone else.”

But it has to be the right deal. So the club will meet tonight and see what happens. Daniels wouldn't say whether an offer would be extended, but it appears the process is moving along where offers would be exchanged at some point soon.

"He might get an offer he can't refuse tonight, and vice versa we might get an opportunity we can't refuse," Daniels said. "We've just agreed to stay in touch and keep each other posted, keep the dialogue going. We're not holding him up. He's not holding us up."

Daniels said the fact that the Angels and new GM Jerry DiPoto have shown interest in Wilson won't impact how the club goes about dealing with Garber.

"If we don’t sign him, I’d prefer he’s in the National League hitting doubles and running around the bases," said Daniels, who chuckled and said that he likes DiPoto and assistant GM Scott Servais, but doesn't want them winning the division. "We try to stay disciplined and not try to make that kind of decision [based on what another team may do]. We have to stick to our plan."

One side note: I think the Rangers want to be sure all options are open. If the market for Wilson doesn't end up being as long as he's looking for (six years, for instance), they want to be ready to get involved. If it's the right contract, they'd like him back in the rotation. But if it's not a contract that works -- including term and AAV -- than they'll move on to other options. The next one would be Buehrle.