Hamilton is still in mix as Texas Rangers look ahead

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- Only one thing would have surprised general manager Jon Daniels as he tries to reconstruct the Texas Rangers for 2013.

"Josh accepting the one-year deal," Daniels said Friday morning before the GM meetings adjourned.

Josh Hamilton, as expected, did not accept the Rangers' qualifying offer of one year and $13.3 million, a number set by the collective bargaining agreement.

The club will get draft-pick compensation should Hamilton, a free agent for the first time in his career, sign with another team.

His return seemed far-fetched a month ago, as he was the poster boy during the Rangers' late-season fall. But Daniels, a shortage of suitors and some common sense have breathed life into the possibility of Hamilton re-signing.

While the Hamilton saga is in the spotlight, the Rangers have other fish to fry.

And, said Daniels, just about everything remains a possibility moving forward this off-season.

"I think it's going to be that way," Daniels said. "We have a little bit better sense of what's realistic. We were able to cross a few things off the list and focus on some other stuff."

Daniels, though, isn't sure if much will happen before the winter meetings next month in Nashville. The 2011 meetings in Dallas featured Albert Pujols, C.J. Wilson and Jose Reyes signing lucrative deals.

Daniels plans to speak with agent Mike Moye next week with the hope of getting a clearer picture on how much closer Hamilton is to finding a place to play.

He has said all along that his preference is to re-sign with the Rangers, who would gladly take back the five-time All-Star on a short-term deal. Hamilton reportedly is seeking a seven-year pact worth $175 million.

But the Rangers won't allow the Hamilton situation to delay other areas they must address.

Zack Greinke remains a target to fill out the rotation, and the Rangers were among several clubs to submit a posting bid on Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-Jin.

The Hanwha Eagles have accepted the high bid, reported to be in excess of $25.7 million, for Ryu, who is represented by Scott Boras. The team submitting the winning bid has not been identified but will have 30 days to negotiate a contract. Ryu went 98-52 with a 2.80 ERA in seven seasons in the Korea Baseball Organization.

Daniels declined comment.

The Rangers also are seeking relief help, and have been linked to right-handers Joakim Soria and Ryan Madson. Both are coming off Tommy John surgery last spring, and each is seeking a multi-year deal, though they won't be ready for the start of the season.

A multi-year deal would likely also be necessary to land Japanese free-agent reliever Kyuji Fujikawa. Daniels doesn't like doing multi-year deals for relief help, and he hopes to avoid them this off-season despite the need to replace late-inning stalwarts Alexi Ogando, Mike Adams and Koji Uehara.

"We have to consider the options," Daniels said. "A lot has to do with the alternatives. There are a lot of ways to address it effectively."

There also is a need at catcher, and the Rangers could look to add a veteran bat, even if Hamilton returns. There is interest in Torii Hunter, Nick Swisher and Adam LaRoche.

Though some things became clearer this week at the GM meetings, don't be shocked if nothing much happens before the winter meetings.

"I'm always of the mindset that one phone call or one meeting could change anything," Daniels said. "I would expect there are still going to be a number of balls in the air as we head to Nashville."

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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