General manager Jon Daniels reiterated yesterday that the Rangers are interested in re-signing Josh Hamilton under the right circumstances, but added that the former MVP’s current market is “somewhat status quo.”
So far at least most reports of teams being linked to Hamilton have been followed by reports–and sometimes even direct quotes–denying that interest, and there’s yet to be any speculation about a major offer being made to the 31-year-old free agent.
Daniels told Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas that he’s “maintained dialogue” with Hamilton’s agent, adding: “I think the way that we have chosen to proceed here is that we’re not necessarily driving the timetable. There may come a time when we need to change that, but so far it’s been fine.”
In other words, the Rangers are content to sit back and wait for Hamilton’s true market to fully play out, at which point they can make a decision about whether he’s worth the price. Not jumping into the bidding war can be a dangerous tactic in some situations, but part of what makes Hamilton such an interesting free agent to track is that it’s possible the actual bidding war for him might be somewhat limited.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.
Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.
Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.