Rangers working on 2013 blueprint

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Prediction: There will not be an announcement of a significant trade or free-agent signing today or Thursday during the annual year-end gathering of baseball's general managers.

That isn't exactly a bold statement. Blockbusters seldom happen at the GM meetings.

Maybe it's too soon after the end of the season. Maybe free agents don't have a full understanding of just how much money teams are willing to give them.

But at some point this off-season, whether next month at the winter meetings or in a flurry just before Christmas, a deal will be struck that was first discussed at the GM meetings.

That could especially hold true for the Texas Rangers, who stand to be one of the busiest teams this off-season. Jon Daniels and his staff have the billing statements to prove how much work they've already done.

"We've been active," Daniels said. "We've already had a round of preliminary calls with most clubs, and certainly the ones we've seen potential fits with we want check in. We've already talked to most of the agents."

Daniels has extra duties this week. He and Colorado GM Dan O'Dowd are co-chairmen of these meetings, charged with keeping the group sessions on schedule and following the agenda.

But there will be plenty of time for him to meet with other GMs about trades and to meet with player agents about their clients the next two days at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort and Spa.

After all, baseball business can get completed more efficiently in a private meeting than through text messages and e-mails.

"We're never out of touch, but there's a value to getting face to face with everybody," Daniels said. "You get a sense of what's real and what's not."

Josh Hamilton remains the Rangers' biggest off-season question mark, and they are waiting for the five-time All-Star to test the market and get back to them.

Hamilton's reported jumping-off point is $25 million a season after he slugged 43 homers and drove in 128 runs while driving the Rangers' fan base and even some teammates crazy with his summertime swoon and stretch-run disappearing act.

That kind of money could fetch an outfielder, a catcher and a nice bullpen arm, or starting pitcher Zack Greinke and a bullpen piece.

The Rangers have one rotation spot to fill, but Daniels has said that the three holes in the bullpen and one behind the plate are the team's top priority.

Don't expect the Rangers to find all the solutions the next two days, but the blueprint for a competitive team in 2013 could become more detailed at these GM meetings.

"Our goal is to put together the best 25-man and probably 30-man and 40-man club we can," Daniels said. "We expect to be a good team again next year. It's not going to happen all in one move. It's an organizational effort year in and year out. I'm not really interested in winning headlines this winter. We're just trying to put a good club together."

Jeff Wilson


Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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