12/9/2013 9:10 P.M. ET
Slugging prospect Gallo works out with two All-Stars
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Minor League third baseman Joey Gallo is getting some high-level mentoring this winter from a couple of Major League All-Stars. Gallo said he has been working out regularly with Jason Giambi and Troy Tulowitzki at the Philippi Sports Institute in his hometown of Las Vegas.
"Giambi has been pretty much working with me all the time," Gallo said. "He has been showing me the ropes mentally and working with me on hitting."
Gallo was at the Winter Meetings on Monday to accept the Joe Baumer Award for top home run hitter in the Minor Leagues this past season. Gallo hit .251 with 40 home runs and 88 RBIs in 111 games last season, missing a month at Class A Hickory because of a torn groin muscle that has healed completely. He also struck out 172 times while drawing 50 walks.
Tulowitzki is helpful when it comes to hitting, but Giambi would be a good player for Gallo to emulate. They are both left-handed hitters with well-above-average power. But Giambi also had good discipline at the plate. He has a .400 career on-base percentage and seven seasons with at least 100 walks. He led the league in walks four times.
Tulowitzki has helped Gallo mostly with his defense. Gallo has played third base since the Rangers selected him in the first round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, but is 6-foot-5 and there have been suggestions he might be better suited to play right field or first base.
"I like to think I'm athletic enough to play third base," Gallo said.
Rangers meet with Cruz's agent to talk potential return
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Rangers met with Nelson Cruz's agent Monday at the Winter Meetings, general manager Jon Daniels confirmed. Cruz is a free agent after being the Rangers' right fielder the past five years, but the club is having ongoing discussions with agent Adam Katz.
"We have always had a good relationship with Adam and the organization has with Nellie," Daniels said. "Both sides have been up front. There is nothing to report. The conversations are amicable in nature, but I don't know if anything will come of it."
Daniels said another meeting has not been scheduled, but said, "I'm sure we will [talk again] at some point."
The Rangers have met with agent Scott Boras at the Winter Meetings to talk about Shin-Soo Choo. But one club official suggested Choo will likely be out of the Rangers' price range. The Rangers already took on one big contract this winter when they acquired first baseman Prince Fielder for second baseman Ian Kinsler.
"We probably made our biggest move with Prince," Daniels said.
The Rangers may be more in the market for a right-handed hitter who could pair with Mitch Moreland at designated hitter.
"That's something we're looking at if we go that route," Daniels said. "Whether it's an everyday guy or somebody who can complement what we already have, we're looking at both options. There are probably more of the latter out there."
Rangers inquire about Halladay, but OK with pitching
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the club had interest in former Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay this winter. Halladay announced Monday he was retiring, but the Rangers were interested if he opted to continue pitching.
"We talked to his agent early in the process," Daniels said. "We talked about him in a couple of different roles."
Other than reaching out to Halladay, the Rangers have not spent much time on pitching this winter. They have been rumored to be one of the teams pursuing Rays pitcher David Price, but Daniels suggested that has not been the case. While not commenting on specific players, Daniels said it's unlikely the Rangers will go after a frontline starting pitcher either by trade or free agency this offseason.
"Probably not," Daniels said Monday at the Winter Meetings. "We have checked in and will continue to check in. Where we are and how the team sets up ... I'd love to have some of the guys that are rumored out there, but I'm not sure that make sense for us out there. Pitching has not been our focus. The strength of our system at the upper levels, I'm not sure that that's the area we're really focused on."
The Rangers appear to have a set rotation with Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Alexi Ogando and Martin Perez. The Rangers are planning to use Ogando as a starter next year, but Daniels said he has to earn his spot in the rotation. He will have competition from Robbie Ross, Nick Tepesch and Colby Lewis.
"When we get to Spring Training, we'll see how everything matches up," Daniels said.
The Rangers are also not looking for a closer. Daniels said he is satisfied with the candidates they already have on the roster: Neftali Feliz, Tanner Scheppers or Joakim Soria.
"It will be more sorted out in Spring Training, but we're not looking for a closer," Daniels said.
• The Rangers still haven't made an official announcement about the signing of catcher J.P. Arencibia. That agreement is pending a physical that should take place in the next day or two in Texas.
• Catcher Jorge Alfaro has been named to the Arizona Fall League's 2013 Top Prospects Team.
• The Rangers officially announced their March 27 exhibition game against the Quintana Roo Tigers at the Ballpark in Arlington. The Tigers are the defending Mexican League champions and play in Cancun. Club president Cuauhtemoc Rodriguez said he would like the Rangers to someday come to Cancun and play. Said Rodriguez, "They would like the city."
• Manager Ron Washington on the Rangers past two seasons: "It's obvious in '10 [and] '11, when we went to the World Series, we played some of the best baseball in the American League and maybe all of Major League Baseball when we got to the playoffs. That's what it takes in baseball, who plays the best down the stretch. The past couple years we haven't done that. So if we can get back to playing our best baseball in September, I think we can look for the fruits at the end."
• Washington on his expectations for Prince Fielder: "Just be Prince. It's obvious if he stays healthy and he gets his 600-plus at-bats, there will be damage. So as far as expectations goes, the guy has always put up monster numbers and we certainly expect him to put up monster numbers in our ballpark. I think he would put up monster numbers in any ballpark. But we certainly don't want him to think that he has to put the Texas Rangers on his shoulder. We just want him to be Prince."
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.