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December 03, 2012

Rangers in the news, just not making news, on Day 1 of winter meetings

The Rangers rate as one of the most talked-about clubs on the first day of the winter meetings, with reports and tweets linking them to most available catchers, Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke. The Rangers, though, were holding their first full-staff meeting of the meetings in Jon Daniels' suite at the Gaylord Opryland, and haven't done anything beyond moving on Geovany Soto on Sunday night.

Mike Napoli leaving for the Red Sox has put the Rangers in a catching bind, though not as big of a bind if they hadn't re-signed Soto. A.J. Pierzynski is the top remaining free-agent catcher on the market, followed by a series of also-rans who the Rangers have discussed.

Among them is former Seattle catcher Miguel Olivo, who has a strong arm and some pop in his bat but almost never draws a walk. The Rangers also have enough prospect depth to pull off a trade. Toronto has a surplus of catchers, but for now seems unwilling to unload any of them.

Hamilton, who is in town but not necessarily at the Gaylord Opryland, has come back toward the Rangers after not finding the deal he is seeking. The Rangers are willing to pay big over a short term, say three years and $75 million with a vesting option. The big-money-over-a-shorter-term philosophy worked for Boston with Napoli.

Most agree that Greinke will land with either the Dodgers or the Rangers, with the Angels now seen as having an outside shot at the pitcher they traded for in July to help them, as it turned out, finish third in the AL West. The Dodgers are thought to have a blank check waiting for Greinke, but they also have to consider an extension for left-hander Clayton Kershaw in a few years. If the Dodgers were to pay Greinke $150 million over six years to be their No. 2 starter, they might have to pay Kershaw $180 million over six years.

The Rangers are also seeking bullpen help. Koji Uehara could consider a return if the Rangers' offer is the best offer. His preference is to play in Baltimore, where his wife and son live, and many assume Uehara will end up there. Don't discount the Angels, who are rebuilding their bullpen.

-- Jeff Wilson




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