With the General Managers’ meetings just under 24 hours away, the Major League Baseball off-season could go from a lukewarm stove to a very hot one.
While the biggest moves aren’t normally made until the winter meetings, which will take place in Dallas, Texas, December 5-8, it could very well start some of the biggest rumors, which will keep everyone talking for the next few weeks.
The Texas Rangers will be one of those teams looking to add to their starting rotation, another arm in the bullpen and possibly another position player or two. There have been several rumors as to who they are looking at, but only a few make sense for the team moving forward.
Mark Buehrle not flying under the Rangers’ radar
The Texas Rangers aren’t going to show their hand, especially when you have guys like general manager Jon Daniels and CEO Nolan Ryan leading the charge. These two guys are about as tight-lipped as anyone in baseball, and they run their front office the same way. It’s shocking to learn of any leaks coming from the internal workings of this franchise.
However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t names thrown around who could be added to this team by the time spring training rolls around in mid-February.
One of those names is free agent left hander, Mark Buehrle, who doesn’t look to be headed back to his former team, the Chicago White Sox. In fact, he’s become a free agent a lot of teams are looking at as someone who makes a lot of sense in their rotation. The Rangers, in fact, are very well aware of Buehrle and what he brings to this team. You might say he’s not exactly “flying under their radar.”
He comes with a cheaper price tag than C.J. Wilson, who isn’t a guarantee to return to Texas in 2012, though Daniels says the team has been in touch with him, and he can pitch just as many innings. While Wilson put up better numbers than Buehrle this season, his disappearing act in the playoffs has to be somewhat concerning to Daniels, Ryan and the rest of the front office.
They aren’t willing to give Wilson a high dollar extension if they can bring in two starters for what it would cost them for one of Wilson.
John Danks returning to Texas?
For those who remember John Danks, you probably remember him from possibly one of the worst trades made by Daniels during his tenure with the Texas Rangers.
However, with the White Sox ready to make Danks as well as Gavin Floyd available in a trade, the Rangers could become very interested in bringing Danks back to Arlington.
In 27 starts in 2011, Danks finished with an 8-12 record and a 4.33 ERA. His 170.1 innings pitched last season were 40 fewer than his 230 innings in 2009. That being said, he has American League experience and would be a solid addition to the rotation. However, what is concerning is his 3-8 record and 5.05 ERA away from US Cellular Field.
What he would cost is still unknown as there’s no indication what exactly the White Sox would ask for in return. Though it’s likely most of what they would want would have to come out of the Rangers’ minor-league system. Texas has shown an unwillingness to part with some of its top talent, such as shortstop Jurickson Profar, outfielder Leonys Martin or pitcher Martin Perez.
Neftali Feliz in a holding pattern
At this point, Neftali Feliz has to be wondering what his role is going to be when players report to spring training in just a few short months. Whether or not he’s keeping up with all the news reports, most likely he hasn’t looked at them one bit since the end of the World Series.
However, as MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan points out, if Wilson does not return to Texas, it’s likely Feliz will be moved from the closing role to the starting rotation. If Wilson does return, Feliz most likely stays at the back end of the bullpen.
Most players will tell you they will play where they’re asked to play. However, when there’s a chance your role increases dramatically, some would want to know sooner rather than later.
As for Feliz, his role is on hold until the Rangers decide how they are going to address the rotation. Once that is complete, things will begin to take on a little more recognizable shape.