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11/14/11 10:15 AM EST
Rangers remain in contact with Wilson
Club would like lefty to return, but is prepared if he doesn't
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, whose wife gave birth to their third child on Saturday, said he has remained in contact with agent Bob Garber about pitcher C.J. Wilson.
Wilson, a 16-game winner for the Rangers in 2011, is a free agent and is being pursued by a number of teams, including the Yankees and the Angels. The Rangers are still holding out hope that they can re-sign him.
"We would like to have him back," Daniels said. "We know he's in a great position. He'll explore his options. We'll prepare for both possibilities."
The Rangers continue to prepare for all possibilities going into baseball's next big event. The general managers convene in Milwaukee this week for their annual meetings. The owners will also be there with the anticipation that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement could be announced.
Daniels, who was supposed to chair the meetings, will not be there. He will remain in Texas with his wife, Robyn, and his new daughter, Charlotte. Assistant general manager Thad Levine will represent the Rangers.
If the Rangers are able to re-sign Wilson, it could mean that Neftali Feliz will remain the closer. If Wilson goes elsewhere, moving Feliz into the starting rotation becomes a bigger possibility.
At that point, the Rangers would have to focus on reinforcing their bullpen. With Jonathan Papelbon having signed a four-year, $50 million deal with the Phillies, Ryan Madson, Francisco Cordero and Heath Bell are the top closers on the free-agent market. Other possibilities include David Aardsma, Joe Nathan, Brad Lidge, Jonathan Broxton, Frank Francisco and Francisco Rodriguez. Texas' in-house candidates include Mike Adams and Mark Lowe.
Madson, who is represented by Scott Boras, could be expensive. So, too, is Rodriguez, although the Rangers have done deals with Boras before, most notably signing third baseman Adrian Beltre last winter. Texas has had interest in Bell. It would be a major surprise if Cordero or Francisco return to the Rangers. Broxton, Lidge, Nathan and Aardsma are coming off major injuries.
The Rangers could replace Wilson with another free-agent starter and keep Feliz in the bullpen. They have shown interest in Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt, although moving Feliz to the rotation appears to be the more desirable option.
A trade is always a possibility, especially if the White Sox are willing to discuss John Danks or the Marlins are interested in moving Rocky Nolasco. Two starters have already been traded this offseason -- the Giants sent Jonathan Sanchez to the Royals and the Braves dealt Derek Lowe to the Indians.
"We're looking at all possibilities," Daniels said without getting into specifics.
The Rangers do not appear willing to pursue free-agent first basemen Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. Club president Nolan Ryan said last week he does not foresee getting involved with either player.
"Making a seven- or eight-year deal for Fielder or Pujols is not something our organization is prepared to do," Ryan told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I very much expect Mitch Moreland to be our first baseman next year."
The big prize of the offseason remains an unknown. There is no word yet if Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish will be posted by the Nippon Ham Fighters and be allowed to come to the United States next year. If that happens in the next few weeks, it could change the plans for a number of teams. The Rangers would likely be among those teams.
As the general managers get ready to convene in Milwaukee and a new CBA is close to being announced, the offseason for most teams is only now starting to unfold.