Rangers' sale unlikely to affect offseason
GM Daniels sticking with approach while negotiations begin
ARLINGTON -- Negotiations between Rangers owner Tom Hicks and the group led by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan to finalize purchase of the franchise are likely to begin almost immediately.
But the offseason is probably too far along for the transaction to have an immediate impact on what the Rangers may or may not do this winter."It's probably too early to say until there is a more clear resolution," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said on Wednesday morning. "We are not changing our plans, but we will evaluate anything or be happy to adjust when that time comes. Nolan and I have discussed that possibility and it could certainly give us some options at some point. "The timing of that is unclear, but we're going forward with the same plans and financial parameters. And if that changes, we will adjust." The preliminary agreement calls for a 30-day window to complete negotiations for the sale of the team, but -- with the holiday season coming up -- that's unlikely to be a hard and fast deadline. Any agreement that is reached must be agreed to by 75 percent of Major League owners as well as the banks that hold the debt on Hicks Sports Group. The best-case scenario might be that the new ownership group is in place on Opening Day. That could put the Rangers in position to add payroll during the season or when the July 31 Trade Deadline approaches if they are in contention in the American League West. Until then, the Rangers press on with the resources they have in their search for a right-handed bat, more pitching and help at catcher. A pending deal with the Red Sox for infielder Mike Lowell remains at the top of the agenda. That deal is still alive, but the Rangers -- who would send catcher Max Ramirez to Boston -- are waiting for Lowell to undergo a complete physical. "Hopefully that will be this week," Daniels said. There is work to do beyond that, and the Rangers may continue to look for right-handed offensive help beyond Lowell as the winter progresses. They retain a degree of interest in free agents Vladimir Guerrero, Jermaine Dye and others, although financial considerations still weigh heavily. The need for catching may be waning a bit. The Rangers explored bringing in a front-line catcher at the Winter Meetings because of concerns about Jarrod Saltalamacchia's right shoulder. But they are backing off on that and may merely seek veteran depth. "I think there is a better chance to bring in a couple of guys to compete for a job, rather than going into the free-agent market to bring in an established guy," Daniels said. "We're getting good reports on Salty, we're happy with Taylor Teagarden's progress in the Arizona Fall League and we've got Kevin Richardson in the mix." The Rangers are still working on upgrading their pitching even though they added Rich Harden to their rotation at the Winter Meetings while acquiring right-hander Chris Ray and left-handers Clay Rapada and Ben Snyder to compete for spots in the bullpen. They continue to have ongoing talks concerning free-agent left-handed reliever Darren Oliver and have expressed interest in right-handed reliever Matt Capps, who was non-tendered by the Pirates. They would also like at least one more starting candidate and there are over 40 free-agent starters still looking for a job. "There is a decent chance we could add another starter," Daniels said. "We want to give ourselves as much depth and flexibility as possible and make it as competitive as possible. There could be guys with big league time who start the season at [Triple-A] Oklahoma City, but it creates competition. If you don't have enough pitching in April then you are not going to have enough in September." A utility infielder is also on the list, but that seems to be low on their priorities. But the list keeps changing and much could change if the ownership situation gets resolves. Right now though, the Rangers press on as before.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.