The Texas Rangers were linked to the biggest free agents earlier this off-season, Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton, but missed out. Now they are looking at second-tier players who might not be household names but would upgrade their roster.
The Rangers met with catcher A.J. Pierzynski and outfielder Cody Ross on Tuesday, according to a source, but it is not known if any offers were made.
Pierzynski, who turns 36 later this month, would provide much-needed depth at catcher for the Rangers and bring a left-handed bat to the lineup. He is coming off a career year in which he batted .278 with 27 home runs and 77 RBIs for the White Sox.
Pierzynski made $6million last season and would likely need a multi-year deal to sign with the Rangers. There could be concerns, however, about Pierzynski's defense as he gets older. He threw out only 20 percent of base stealers last season.
Another issue -- but one that should be resolvable -- is Pierzynski's pointed comments toward Rangers manager Ron Washington leading up to the All-Star break. Washington, the American League manager, felt bad about leaving Pierzynski off the roster.
Pierzynski responded by saying, "If he felt that bad, he would have put me on the team. He had an opportunity to and he didn't do it."
Regardless, the focus is on the 2013 team, which is thin at catcher. The Rangers re-signed Geovany Soto, acquired from the Cubs at the trade deadline last year. While Soto struggled offensively, he worked well with the pitching staff, notably Yu Darvish.
Along with Soto, the Rangers have Eli Whiteside, Luis Martinez and Konrad Schmidt projected to compete for a big league spot in spring training. The team's best catching prospect, Jorge Alfaro, spent last season at Low A Hickory.
Ross, meanwhile, would fit as a right-handed power bat filling the void left by Mike Napoli. He would be a valuable asset off the bench and possibly as a platoon outfielder with David Murphy. Ross, who turns 32 on Sunday, batted .267 with 22 home runs and 81 RBIs with the Red Sox last season. He is 1 for 11 with a run scored in his career at Rangers Ballpark.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760