Rangers likely through with signings this off-season

Posted Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

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Fifty-eight players, it turns out, are enough, or at least they're going to have to be.

Even if the Texas Rangers wanted to add one of the remaining free agents on the market, they don't have the money to do so because their transactions since November have burst the budget.

General manager Jon Daniels said on Sunday that the Rangers are unlikely to bring any more than 58 players on the roster to spring training, barring a trade or a minor-league deal with an invitation to Surprise, Ariz.

There might also some flexibility if a free agent is willing to be creative with a deal, but players such as Roy Oswalt and Michael Gonzalez will likely have to look to another team.

"As far as any flexibility, we don't have any right now," Daniels said. "You never want to shut the door. There's a level of interest in [Oswalt and Gonzalez], but as far as a fit and payroll-wise, it's not as easy as otherwise."

The Rangers' payroll climbed Sunday when they signed Mike Napoli to a one-year deal worth $9.4 million and avoided an arbitration hearing again.

The additions of Yu Darvish and Joe Nathan, and the raises players received through the arbitration process will push the payroll toward a club-record $120 million after being around $94 million in 2011.

The previous single-season payroll mark was $105.7 million in 2002.

While the Rangers might be done spending for 2012, Daniels said that work will continue on long-term extensions for players approaching free agency.

"We've had varying discussions with a few different guys," Daniels said. "There are those where we have more common ground than others. Now that the better part of the off-season is behind us, we'll take a closer look at those in spring training."

Josh Hamilton is not among those players, said Daniels.

The sides have agreed to focus on Hamilton's health and his family's well-being after he had a relapse with alcohol Jan. 30.

Napoli, though, likely is in the group after a breakthrough 2011 season. Daniels said that Napoli is still feeling some pain in his left ankle, which was severely sprained in Game 6 of the World Series.

The Rangers aren't yet too concerned about Napoli's health.

"He's still feeling it," Daniels said. "It was a pretty severe sprain. Once he gets into his conditioning and gets into spring training, our guys will get their arms around it.

"He has been seen multiple times here in Arlington by Dr. [Keith] Meister, and we feel comfortable with his progress."

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

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