Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was kind enough to answer your questions in a chat on Monday. Here are some highlights:
On the proposed Mike Lowell trade: "As we've said it's something both teams are looking at and the parameters are generally understood. Still some things to work through though, and it's not a lock to happen. I expect resolution one way or the other fairly soon."
The Rangers are expected to conduct a physical on Lowell this week. That should give them some more information and help decide, from their end, if they want to go through with the deal.
On whether catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be ready for spring training: "We hope so, but can't say for sure right now. That's why we wanted him to go to winterball -- so we'd know. Unfortunately he had a setback. The doctors aren't concerned but until we see him out there at game speed, I can't say with 100 percent certainty that he'll be ready. We'll prepare for both possibilities."
On getting Chris Ray: "Chris was of interest from the start. He was one of several relievers we felt could outperform his contract, and could help us. We had interest in him before he got hurt and have followed him since then. In the negotiations with Baltimore, several other names came up. There was somewhat of a sliding scale between talent we got back and the financial obligation they'd take on. We found a deal that worked for both sides."
On conversations with Ben Sheets' agent: "We met with Casey Close in Indy. Obviously we've had interest in Ben for some time now. We still wish he'd have been healthy last year, as he'd have just finished his first year with us and be preparing for his second. We'll continue to stay in touch this winter. If he's healthy, we'd have interest."
On catcher John Buck: "We made Buck an offer but Toronto offered him more, and they were able to guarantee him the starting job. We're still looking at other options for catching depth."
I found this interesting. The Rangers, as expected, did investigate Buck to the point where they made an offer. It just wasn't quite enough, in large part because of playing time. The Rangers have said they won't go two years on a catcher, BTW. (Reports say Buck got $2 million on a one-year deal from Toronto).
On MLB trends this offseason: "Some off the top of my head... Heavy emphasis on defense, and to a lesser degree versatility. Teams coveting their prospects. Teams in certain areas of the country pulling back financially in response to their local economies."