The Rangers open the winter meetings with a few clear items on their agenda.
1. Sign Cliff Lee
2. Investigate Zack Greinke
3. Find a corner bat
They have already cleared up their catching situation with low-end contracts for Yorvit Torrealba and Matt Treanor, and, while there may still be some jostling around in the pen, they have made several calls on their relief group, bringing back Frank Francisco, Mark Lowe and Darren Oliver and adding Japanese sidewinder Yoshinori Tateyama. They've been mentioned on a lot of players and have seemed to kick several tires, but their needs are straightforward. They want Cliff Lee, they would like Zack Greinke, and they need a bat to handle Vlad Guerrero's role. Lee rumors will dominate the news, as they have the past two days, but he is not certain to sign this week. And one of Jon Daniels' chief characteristics is thoroughness, so the club will undoubtedly pursue all leads.
As for Rangers rumors, Richard Durrett has a few from the lobby on Zack Greinke and Paul Konerko.
The asking price is high and the club is interested in a gaggle of Rangers prospects. It's the usual names (Martin Perez, Tanner Scheppers, Jurickson Profar, Engel Beltre, etc.). Texas would part with a package of prospects to get him, but it depends on what the overall package. ... The Rangers really like Profar, so I'm not sure if he would be included in a package. We'll see.
The two prospect names that make me take a big breath are Martin Perez and Jurickson Profar, and, while I've come to grips with including Perez to land Greinke, I find Profar's inclusion a little frustrating. I certainly understand why KC would demand him, but I worry that in dealing both of these guys, the Rangers are getting something excellent, but they're not selling these prospects at their maximum value. That is especially true if Derek Holland is included as well. A deal with those three players could easily match what the Rangers landed for Mark Teixeira, and that wouldn't be good.
Jeff Wilson and TR Sullivan also have their Meetings opening stories, with a focus on the Rangers' improved position. The problem seems to be that most teams are in an improved position this winter.
This time of the baseball calendar is also interesting for those of us who follow the minutiae of baseball. The Rule 5 draft is Thursday. Between the decisions on who to protect from that draft and those on tendering arbitration eligible players, an always intriguing set of younger players become available. On the latter, for BP subscriberes, Christina Kahrl compiled an interesting summary of non-tendered names. The "DL Types" column in particular has some interesting options.