The Texas Rangers have a child-like Christmas list of needs as they shop around at the Winter Meetings this week in Nashville.
Texas could certainly use some bullpen help. They have to get a starting catcher. Getting a legit No. 1 would be a nice present too. And that doesn’t include getting the No. 1 gift on the wish list of several teams — Josh Hamilton.
But it’s possible that this week could come and go and the Rangers won’t know much more about their roster for the 2013 season than they did before team executives left for Tennessee.
“Things take a little while to develop,” Texas general manager Jon Daniels said. “That’s the nature of the business. My expectation is that in the next 10 days or two weeks you’ll see considerably more business done.”
The Rangers need to get busy soon because the current roster doesn’t appear to be one that can take the team to a fourth-consecutive bullpen.
Of course, getting something done with Hamilton or free agent right-hander Zack Greinke could change that soon.
Hamilton is the top prize on the market and the Rangers are still in on him and have been in contact with his representative Mike Moye this offseason. Daniels said the club won’t wait on Hamilton to make other moves and they have shown that.
According to a cbssports.com report, the Rangers have met with Greinke. Team president Nolan Ryan spoke glowingly of Greinke last month but the price he wants may not make sense for Texas, especially considering the deep-pocketed Los Angeles Dodgers are considered to be the frontrunners to land him.
Whether or not the Rangers re-sign Hamilton or get Greinke is one thing. The club has to address the catching situation because they only have Luis Martinez and Konrad Schmidt on the 40-man roster.
John Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reported Monday that sources confirmed the Boston Red Sox and free agent catcher Mike Napoli have agreed to a three-year contract worth $39 million.
Daniels said the long-term solution for the catching spot might not be answered this offseason. A.J. Pierzynski and Rod Barajas are the best free agents available. Texas could also deal for a catcher, with Toronto having the market cornered with its roster.
If the Rangers address Hamilton and the catching situation, they still need bullpen help. Lefty Robbie Ross and right-hander Tanner Scheppers are the most-experienced relievers in the bullpen not named Joe Nathan. Both of them were rookies last year and both had ups and downs.
Right-hander Koji Uehara is an option but the Rangers are hesitant about giving multi-year deals to relievers. The same goes for Mike Adams, who has already said he’s looking to for a big deal in what might be his lone free-agent contract.
The market has already thinned for relievers with Jonathan Broxton (Cincinnati), Ryan Madson (Los Angeles Angels) and Joel Peralta (Tampa Bay) already off the market.
Bullpens are fickle and Daniels knows that, so don’t be surprised if the Rangers take a risk on a reliever with an injury risk or someone who may be in a new role. Big names don’t always equate to bullpen success either. Would anyone have expected Jason Grilli to be a hot free agent now after what he showed in Texas a couple of years ago?
Maybe newly acquired right-hander Cory Burns is a guy that can help out, or new lefty Tommy Hottovy. Or maybe the Rangers will snap up a couple more relievers.
All of this could happen this week in Nashville, but more than likely that won’t be the case. Remember, there are more than eight shopping weeks until spring training.