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12/06/12 3:41 PM ET
No big splash, but Rangers appear on verge
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Rangers tried to sign outfielder free agent Josh Hamilton and pitcher Zack Greinke. They talked to the Mets about pitcher R.A. Dickey, they have interest in Rays pitcher James Shields and they were in the middle of a blizzard of rumors involving a multiple-team trade with the D-backs that would bring back outfielder Justin Upton.
They also talked to the Phillies about trading Michael Young. In what is becoming a biennial event with the Rangers, their seven-time All-Star infielder and club leader in most offensive career categories is once again in the middle of serious trade discussions. This one may just need his approval in waiving his no-trade rights to go to Philadelphia.
So while the Rangers did not make any major announcements at the Winter Meetings, they were certainly stirring up the rumors and at least appearing to be on the brink of doing something big.
That seems to be only a matter of time, and most baseball people at the Winter Meetings believe the Rangers will land at least one of the two big free-agent prizes, either Hamilton or Greinke. A deal for one or the other could come over the weekend or sometime next week.
"We're discussing a number of things," general manager Jon Daniels said. "We were hoping to push some things across the finish line. It didn't happen. We didn't push anything across the finish line, but I think we will soon."
The Rangers did bring home a trophy. They were named the 2012 Topps Organization of the Year for the first time in the 47-year history of the award. Texas also signed four players to Minor League contracts, including former Pirates All-Star reliever Evan Meek, and the club took reliever Coty Woods in the Rule 5 Draft.
But the big splash didn't happen. The Rangers wait on Hamilton and Greinke. If they sign Hamilton then maybe they don't have to make a big push for Upton. If they sign Greinke, then trading for a starting pitcher won't make much sense.
"We have an idea of what we want the team to look like," Daniels said. "A couple of big decisions will impact that direction. Some of that is up to us and some of it is up to the guys across the table."
Waiting on Greinke and Hamilton kept the Rangers from being more aggressive on reliever Koji Uehara, who agreed to a one-year contract with the Red Sox on Thursday. The Rangers made one proposal to Uehara, but then signed Joakim Soria to a two-year deal on Tuesday. The Rangers still want to add other relievers, but now they are waiting to see what happens with Hamilton and Greinke before they move on any other pitchers.
Daniels said he hasn't talked to Hamilton's agent Mike Moye since their meeting on Tuesday night, but he said he expects to in the next couple of days. There may be a big splash coming soon to the Ballpark in Arlington.
The Rangers announced Thursday they have signed four players to Minor League contracts: first baseman Brandon Allen and pitchers Jacob Brigham, Evan Meek and Randy Wells.
Allen played in 10 games for the Rays and Athletics last year and has played in 116 Major Leagues in 2009-12, hitting .203 with 12 home runs, 41 RBIs and a .375 slugging percentage in 389 plate appearances.
Meek, a right-handed reliever, had a 6.75 ERA in 12 games for the Pirates last season and is 7-7 with a 3.34 ERA in 156 career games from 2008-12. He had a 2.14 ERA in 70 games for the Pirates in 2010 and was selected to the National League All-Star team before coming down with shoulder tendinitis the following season.
Wells, another right-hander, was 1-2 with a 5.34 ERA in 12 games for the Cubs in 2012 and is 28-32 with a 5.34 ERA in 98 games, including 86 starts, over his five-year Major League career.
Brigham was re-signed to a Minor League contract after being non-tendered last week. He was 5-7 with a 4.72 ERA in 23 starts at Double-A this past season. The Rangers traded him to the Cubs for catcher Geovany Soto on July 30 and re-acquired him last month.
Rule 5 activity:
The Rangers acquired sidearming right-hander Woods from the Rockies. He will compete for a spot in the Rangers' bullpen. Texas also lost first baseman Chris McGuiness, who was drafted by the Indians, and third baseman Tommy Mendonca, who was selected by the A's.
The Rangers re-signed Soto and reinforced their bullpen by signing Soria to a two-year deal. But Soria is still recovering from Tommy John surgery and probably won't be ready until May.
Hamilton and Greinke. Almost everything else waits on them.
Team's bottom line:
"We want to make deals. We don't want to sit here and just talk about making deals. It just hasn't happened." -- Daniels.