Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Lobby talk: Rangers juggling and waiting
By Richard Durrett
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It's still early on Day 3 of the Winter Meetings and it seems a bit quiet, but if you'll remember it was Day 3 at last year that set the stage for the fireworks of C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols that ended those meetings in Dallas. We'll see if there's any kind of repeat this year.
ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett explains that once Zack Greinke signs with a team, things will start to fall into place with the rest of the baseball market.
The Texas Rangers, to no one's surprise, are exploring things on multiple fronts. That's been general manager Jon Daniels' approach since he took the job. He has the financial resources to talk about Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke and they have assets in the form of prospects to talk about various trades.
A few things of note:
* Texas has kept the lines of communication open with Casey Close, Greinke's agent, but beyond that, it's unclear what may happen. Greinke could decide to take his time and see what kind of parameters for a deal are out there. The chatter in the lobby is that it all hinges on what the Dodgers want to do. If they feel like they have to have Greinke, perhaps they go a seventh year and make him the highest paid pitcher in history. The Rangers have shown a reluctance to go more than five years on pitchers, but they've made exceptions too (they offered Cliff Lee more than that two years ago and went six years for Yu Darvish, not to mention the posting bid). The Rangers see Greinke as the best option to upgrade their staff, but everyone is waiting to see what he does.
* Meanwhile, the Rangers are waiting to see what kind of market materializes for Hamilton. What one of these big free agents does can impact the other. It seems like it would be tough for Texas to sign both (though we've learned to never rule anything like that out when it comes to this front office), so if they don't get Greinke, they could turn their attention to Hamilton and then look at a trade for a pitcher. If Greinke comes to Texas, they could look at dealing for an outfielder or going with their current crop. At this point, it doesn't appear there's a big, long-term deal out there -- or, I should say, no one has been talking about it if there is.
* James Shields certainly interests the Rangers, but it will depend on what kind of price the Tampa Bay Rays are charging in terms of prospects (and whether Greinke comes to Texas). Shields is attractive because he's pitched at least 200 innings the last six seasons. He turns 31 in December, but is under club control for the next two years at a very affordable price ($9 million this season, $12 million club option for 2014).
* Justin Upton remains a name talked about, but at this point it doesn't appear the Rangers would part with Elvis Andrus in that deal. That's why the reports about a four-team deal make some sense because the Rangers could get Upton and Arizona could get its shortstop from someone else. Folks in the lobby say there's something to it, but doubt it could completely come together. Perhaps that's simply because it's difficult enough to get two sides to agree to a trade, let alone three or four.
* The thin catching market still includes A.J. Pierznyski and the club has some interest in Miguel Olivo. The Blue Jays have a bunch of catching, so you wonder when they might try to unload some of it. Besides John Buck, J.P. Arencibia and top-rated prospect Travis d'Arnaud, they claimed Eli Whiteside off waivers from the Yankees recently.