ARLINGTON, Texas — Two years ago the Texas Rangers waited for Cliff Lee to make a decision on his future before they moved ahead with their offseason plans.
That’s not going to be the case with the Rangers this year with Josh Hamilton.
“Obviously with Josh you don’t know where that’s going to go,” team president Nolan Ryan said. “What you’re going to have to do is I don’t think we 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. Also we have to be out there seeing what opportunities are out there whether there’s an opportunity to improve the ball club. If you just sit back and wait you might miss an opportunity you can regret.”
Ryan is a fan of shorter contracts and doesn’t like to give deals that are longer than three or four years. But that doesn’t always hold true for position players, where he’s more flexible.
Hamilton has until Friday to accept or reject the team’s qualifying offer of $13.3 million, which is just a mere formality. He’s now free to see what the market is for the 2010 American League Most Valuable Player and finalist for this year’s award.
Hamilton said at the end of the season that the Rangers will have a chance to talk with Hamilton and his representatives after he tests the market.
Ryan can’t tell if Hamilton will return to the Rangers.
“I just don’t know where the market’s going to take it,” Ryan said. “You don’t know who the players in the market are going to be. You don’t know what that market is going to be. People may have a better feel this week (after the general manager’s meetings in California).”
Ryan said that the length of a Hamilton deal may impact the club’s decision more than the dollars involved.
“When you get into those extremely long contracts if something goes wrong those can be crippling to a ball club,” Ryan said. “Those are the things you have to evaluate.”
While Hamilton is the biggest offensive weapon available, right-hander Zack Greinke has that distinction among starting pitchers.
Greinke has a fan in Ryan, who likes the way he pitches and the command he has.
Ryan also lauded Greinke’s durability.
“When I look at him I don’t get concerns about breaking down because he has a good delivery and it’s effortless,” Ryan said. “He has a feel for pitching that he, in a sense to me, and I’m not comparing their stuff, but you take Felix Hernandez. You take Felix was when he first came up to what he is now, he has a real feel for pitching and he finds ways to give pitchers different looks. That’s kind of the way I look at Greinke.”