NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- You never know who you might bump into in the lobby during the Winter Meetings. Texas Rangers closer Joe Nathan, who lives in Knoxville, drove down to visit some folks and have lunch. He joked he planned on bursting into the Rangers' war room to get some deals going.
Nathan saw firsthand what Hamilton can do with his bat. He'd like to see what Greinke can do with his arm. Nathan talked about Greinke, who is the biggest pitching name at the Winter Meetings and a player the Rangers are working hard to secure, knowing what he could do for the rotation.
"He's a frontline starter that can be an ace on a club," Nathan said. "Any time you can add a guy that brings that type of talent to a rotation, he's going to strengthen the club. It's looking at what our needs are, what we need the most. Right now there's probably still a little bit of need in the bullpen, there's still probably a need for a catcher, they're trying to deal with getting Josh back, trying to deal with Greinke and a bunch of other things I'm sure are in the works. As players, we just have to prepare for what we need to do come February."
Nathan said he was pleased to see the team sign Joakim Soria, who won't be ready for the start of the season, but hopes to be pitching by late May or early June if all goes well in rehab from Tommy John surgery.
"He's a great guy, we get along real well and I know him quite a bit from the Kansas City and Twins days," Nathan said. "When healthy, and hopefully he can turn that corner quick, he's not really one of those guys that needs to overpower a guy with a fastball. I think that will help. He's a four-pitch late-inning guy. If he can get command of his off-speed stuff and sharpness on that stuff as early as he can, obviously he's a top reliever. He's going to be a huge addition for us in the pen and trying to fill some of the holes we lost."
Nathan added that it was good to have someone who has closing experience for those late innings as well.
"The more guys you have that are comfortable with those late-inning jobs, the better off you're going to be," Nathan said. "You play 162 and there are days when you're going to be down and days that guys are going to have to step up and it's nice to have guys with experience in those situations."
Nathan said he'll continue to keep an eye on what the Rangers' front office is doing, but knows they are prepared for anything.
"You've got to Plan B, Plan C in play in case Plan A doesn't work," Nathan said. "I'm sure they have their thoughts on what they'd like to do, but they have their backup plans in case those things go awry."