Baseball world paralyzed by Texas Rangers' holdup

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It isn't unprecedented to have an entire edition of the winter meetings zip by without The Big Guys signing. Stuff, after all, does happen.

But here we are, with just hours remaining before 30 general managers start stampeding toward the airport, and Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton -- the two free agents at the center of the baseball solar system -- are right where we left them a week ago:


That'll change, of course. Sooner or later. But until it does, it feels as if the whole darned sport is stuck in a state of frozen lack of animation.

In a column Tuesday, we spelled out how Greinke's deliberate pace was holding up the entire starting-pitching market. But it became clear Wednesday, as agents and club officials did their best to keep their sanity through another day of limbo and frustration, that it isn't only the pitching market that has been stuck in neutral because of this guy.

It's every kind of market.

Let's try to draw you a little road map to help explain this mess:

It's obvious why other pitchers can't move until they wait for Greinke to pick a team and set the economic bar. But he also has managed to help paralyze a chunk of the free-agent hitters market -- because his free-agent fate and Hamilton's free-agent fate have somehow gotten tangled up together.

How'd that happen? Simple. The Texas Rangers are in on both of them. And they're sending signals that they can afford to sign only one of them. So because they've succeeded in signing neither of them, players of all shapes and sizes are stuck, waiting for the Rangers to make a decision.

To see what possible deals are being held up by the Rangers, click here.