With just a few days remaining before the 2011 winter meetings get underway in Dallas, the Texas Rangers are quietly putting together a needs and wants list before their front office personnel make the very short drive to the downtown Hilton Anatole Hotel on Monday morning.
General manager Jon Daniels has made it clear that this team was going to focus on pitching as their first priority. Their actions have confirmed that statement after the signing of free-agent closer Joe Nathan and the interest in former Los Angeles Dodgers’ closer Jonathan Broxton, and now interest in yet another reliever.
C.J. Wilson is asking for how much?
About a week after Texas Rangers ace Wilson filed for free agency, rumors began circulating that Wilson and his agent, Bob Garber, were asking for six years and upwards of $120 million. It was at that point just about every Rangers fan, or at least most of them, jumped off the Wilson bandwagon and were ready to move on.
However, a few weeks later, that number changed. This time, after a meeting with the Los Angeles Angels, his asking price had dropped from $120 million down to $100 million. Though it was a $20 million difference, it was still laughable seeing as most people don’t believe he’s worth even that much.
The Texas Rangers have made it clear they would welcome Wilson back with open arms. Wilson himself has even said there’s a “great chance” he returns to Texas for the 2012 season and beyond. But if he expects this team to fork over that kind of money to sign him, he has another thing coming.
Texas Rangers going after another reliever?
Late yesterday afternoon, reports surfaced that the Rangers want to add another strong arm to their bullpen. That arm could, quite possibly, be Oakland A’s reliever Andrew Bailey. However, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote earlier, the A’s are looking for offense. That could mean they might ask the Rangers for the likes of young minor-league infielders Jurickson Profar or Mike Olt, though there’s no telling if the Rangers will show any willingness at all to deal either of those players.
Having already signed former Minnesota Twins closer Nathan, on top of adding former San Diego Padres set-up man Mike Adams before the trade deadline last season, the conventional wisdom would suggest Bailey could challenge both Nathan and Adams for the closer role during spring training.
Sure Daniels has said Nathan is going to be the closer next season, but he knows full well Nathan is only 18 months removed from Tommy John surgery and a 100 percent recovery isn’t always guaranteed. It helps to have two guys behind him who could also get the job done if and when they are called upon.
There’s no talk that this deal is close, but we know the Rangers were very interested in Bailey at the July trade deadline. But, because of Oakland’s asking price, the Rangers decided to go in another direction.
The Texas Rangers and Matt Garza
The new head man for the Chicago Cubs, former Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, made it clear they would listen to offers for anyone on the Cubs’ roster. One name that has made its way to the Texas Rangers rumor mill is pitcher Matt Garza, who, if traded, could make his way onto his fourth team in his big-league career.
Garza has had success when he’s pitched in the American League, both with the Minnesota Twins as well as the Tampa Bay Rays. where he threw his very first, and only, no-hitter. Why this deal may have more legs than it realistically has could be because both Garza and Nathan were teammates in Minnesota for two seasons (2006-2007).
Landing another starter is intriguing for the Texas Rangers, especially since this front office now expects 150-200 innings out of Neftali Feliz, instead of having him come out of the bullpen for one inning per game. But Garza isn’t going to come cheap. Chicago gave up three of its top-15 prospects to acquire him from the Tampa Bay Rays, so you may as well bank on the fact the Cubs will want the same kind of return or at least something close.
A minor move is made
Teagarden was out of minor-league options so, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News pointed out earlier today, he would have had to make the team out of spring training, which was unlikely with Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba occupying the two catching spots, or risk losing him to waivers.