Source: Texas set for C.J. Wilson offer

Updated: December 6, 2011, 1:07 PM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN.com

DALLAS -- The Texas Rangers plan to make their first contract offer to free-agent starter C.J. Wilson during a meeting with his agent at Major League Baseball's winter meetings Tuesday, a baseball source told ESPN.com.

Wilson, 31, has already received offers from the Marlins, Angels, Nationals and an undisclosed fourth team. A radio report Monday said that Washington had offered Wilson a six-year deal, but Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo subsequently told ESPN's Jim Bowden that the report was inaccurate. "We know what C.J. is capable of doing," Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan said Tuesday. "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."

The Red Sox and Cubs are among the other clubs that have reportedly spoken with agent Bob Garber about Wilson this winter.

Boston general manager Ben Cherington, however, all but quashed reports that the team is still in the mix for Wilson or fellow free-agent lefty Mark Buehrle when he said the Red Sox are "less likely" to pursue "top-tier" free-agent starting pitchers.

"Never say never," Cherington said late Monday afternoon at baseball's winter meetings, "but I think it's more likely we'll be pursuing other options. You always want to stay involved, to the extent of having the latest information, keep your options open because you never know what might come your way and how that might change things, but I would say it's less likely that we'll be involved with those top-tier guys relative to the past."

Wilson went 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA in 223 1/3 innings for the American League champion Rangers this past season. Texas has expressed interest in Wilson and Buehrle, but has been content to hang on the periphery and let the market for the two starters shape up as the offseason has progressed.

Wilson, a Southern California native, recently traveled to Anaheim for a visit with the Angels, and made a visit to Miami to see the Marlins' new stadium. The Marlins have already signed closer Heath Bell and agreed to terms on a deal with Jose Reyes, but they continue to actively pursue Albert Pujols and have made a priority of adding a top-flight starter to the rotation.

Jerry Crasnick is a senior writer for ESPN.com. Information from ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes was used in this report.

Jerry Crasnick | email

ESPN.com MLB Sr. Writer

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