Nolan Ryan weighed in on the free agent market today, saying the Texas Rangers could not afford to wait on Josh Hamilton to make a decision.
Ryan said the plan is still in place for Hamilton to test the market and then come back to the Rangers. However, Ryan wasn't ready to speculate what the market might bear. He said the question wasn't a matter of Hamilton's average salary (which is expected to be at least $20 million a year) but length.
"I think everybody in their mind has what their tolerance is, but is that where the market is going to be?" Ryan said. "I don’t know. Are you looking at a [Prince] Fielder deal at nine years or a Pujols deal or seven years? That’s the question that probably isn’t answered yet and we don’t have a feel for. I think everybody has a better feel for the dollars on an annual basis.
"I don't think you can sit around and say, 'We have to wait and see what happens with Josh.' We'll get a feel here shortly where we think that might be going, but also we have to be out there seeing what opportunities are out there to improve the club. We’ll have to look at it and evaluate it. If you sit back and wait, you might miss an opportunity you might regret or feel like you could have done something and didn’t get it done."
Here are a few other notes from Ryan:
* Ryan spoke highly of free agent right-hander Zack Greinke. Ryan said his delivery and understanding of pitching makes him a "longevity" candidate in terms of holding up. "To me, he is the other big sign out there," he said. "When I look at him, I don’t get concerns about him breaking down because he has a good delivery and it’s effortless and he has a feel for pitching that I think, in a sense. He finds a way to give hitters a different look and that’s how I look at Greinke. So you’d probably feel stronger about him as far as a longetivty candidate than maybe some of the power guys. That’s my initial thoughts when I watch him."
* Ryan said the two areas of need for the Rangers this offseason are rebuilding the bullpen and taking care of their catching situation. Mike Adams, Koji Uehara, Mark Lowe and Scott Feldman are among last year's relievers who are free agents. Mike Napoli is also a free agent.
* The last major league batter Ryan faced in his 27-year career, coincidentally, was new hitting coach Dave Magadan. Magadan had a 1-1 count and then Ryan popped his elbow when he threw a ball for a 2-1 count. "It wasn't a real good day," Ryan said. "I had no clue he was the last hitter I faced. I faced him a lot. ... I’m thrilled that we have him. I think he’s a nice addition to our coaching staff and I think he’ll bring a very positive message."
-- Drew Davison