DALLAS -- Left-handed reliever remains a significant need for the Rangers. General manager Jon Daniels would like to fill that hole with Darren Oliver.Daniels said he has had preliminary discussions with Oliver's agent, Jeff Frye, about re-signing the veteran, and Daniels hopes to get something done soon. The sides are expected to meet and talk here at the Winter Meetings. "We haven't talked specifics. ... We probably need to," Daniels said. "Hopefully we'll be the last team he'll play for." Oliver was 5-5 with a 2.29 ERA that was the second lowest in the American League for a left-handed reliever with at least 40 innings pitched. Oliver turned 41 in October, but he and his wife feel he is good to go for one more season. They make their home in the Metroplex. "Obviously, Darren loves playing for the Rangers," Frye said. "We've had some other teams interested in him. After the Rangers came so close this past season, mama gave her blessing for Darren to go out and get a ring somewhere." The Rangers also remain interested in signing Michael Gonzalez, their second left-handed reliever in the playoffs. He recently had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, but the Rangers have been told he should be ready by Spring Training. Daniels is hoping to meet with Gonzalez's agent, Scott Boras, at the Winter Meetings. The Rangers are not committed to adding a left-hander, but upgrading their bullpen is a priority. "If the best guy is a right-hander, we'll bring in a right-hander," Daniels said.
Rangers set sights on utility infielder
DALLAS -- The Rangers met with the Red Sox on Monday. They are trying to find a utility infielder and are interested in Jed Lowrie, a former top prospect who has been set back by a series of ailments the past three years.Lowrie, a switch-hitter, has been on the disabled list four times in the past three years. But he is healthy right now, and the Red Sox may not be inclined to move him. "He had the shoulder issue that was resolved, essentially. He just hadn't regained full strength toward the end of the season," Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. "He should have a good offseason and no issues with him moving forward. He's always been a guy we felt could be an everyday player and has been very close to being an everyday player, won the job at one point and got hurt." The Rangers' primary goal is to find a utility infielder who can play shortstop. But that is a highly coveted commodity here at the Winter Meetings with at least 10 teams also seeking a similar player.
Tanner Scheppers is pitching in relief for Magallanes in the Venezuelan Winter League and the Rangers will give him a chance to win a job in the bullpen during Spring Training. Scheppers has allowed one earned run on five hits in 13 innings while walking 13 and striking out 16. Daniels said the Rangers have had preliminary conversations with some of their players about multiyear contracts. Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Colby Lewis, who can all be free agents after next season, are likely top priorities. Discussions will likely get serious in January as their arbitration dates approach and could carry into Spring Training. Jayce Tingler has replaced Mike Micucci as the Rangers' Minor League field coordinator. Micucci has been offered some other options within the organization. Kevin Cash, who caught for the Rangers at Triple-A Round Rock last year, has accepted a job as the Blue Jays' advance scout.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.