LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Texas Rangers made one deal at the winter meetings at Disney World this week: They drafted an NFL quarterback.
After three days of room service and clandestine chats with teams and agents, the Rangers flew home to chilly Arlington without adding any players to the 2014 roster. They did, however, make news by selecting Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the Rule 5 draft. The club made the $12,000 investment in the hopes that Wilson, who was a baseball prospect in high school and college, can provide a tangible example for younger players of the kind of work ethic and dedication it takes to get to the big leagues. But they realize Wilson isn't playing for the Rangers next season as they try to get back to the World Series.
Perhaps now is a good time to remind everybody that the Rangers had already made an entire winter meetings' worth of moves before holing up in their hotel rooms and charging their cellphones three times a day.
It might also be the right time to remind folks that patience can sometimes pay off. Two logical free-agent upgrades to the lineup and the outfield are still available as the meetings wrap up.
Texas had already traded All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler for power-hitting first baseman Prince Fielder, giving them the big bat in the heart of their lineup that was the top priority this offseason. They signed Geovany Soto and J.P. Arencibia, plugging the hole at catcher. They traded fourth outfielder Craig Gentry to the Oakland A's (scouts this week predicted he'll play well because the A's are expected to use him the way the Rangers used him) for 24-year-old Michael Choice, who is raw but has plenty of power and upside. And they jumped quickly when the season ended to keep veteran reliever Jason Frasor. Oh, and they gave Martin Perez a contract extension, locking up another young member of the rotation long term.
"Next time, we'll do a big deal and then wait and announce it here so we can say we did something," Daniels joked.
The Rangers want one more bat. They'd certainly prefer to get a bigger presence in the outfield rather than let Choice and Engel Beltre, who is out of options, handle left field. But Daniels refused to get boxed into a corner and wouldn't try to win the winter meetings with one final deal. Instead, the Rangers fly back home with a few free-agent options on the table and a better idea of trade possibilities down the road.
Nelson Cruz and Shin-Soo Choo were two players who didn't stroll to the podium in the media workroom at the Swan and Dolphin Resort. Cruz's agent, Adam Katz, talked to the Rangers several times, and the club would like Cruz to stay in a Rangers uniform. But this is probably Cruz's last shot at a lucrative long-term deal, and the buzz this week is he wants four years. The Rangers are comfortable at two years -- maybe two years and an option. Would they go to three? Would Cruz come to Texas if he got three years guaranteed? We'll see. Remember, we're not even halfway through the offseason yet. Teams have to give up a draft pick to get both Cruz and Choo, which may be why it's taking them a bit longer to find a destination for 2014.
If Cruz or Choo sign somewhere other than Texas, the ball might get rolling toward an even quicker resolution. Daniels said Thursday that he doesn't expect any big moves the rest of the offseason. That doesn't mean the club won't make moves. But it speaks to where the organization feels the market is at this moment for Choo and Cruz.
As we know from previous years, those markets are fluid. The Rangers have parameters, and if one of these players falls into those parameters, the team can strike.
So the Rangers come home with an NFL quarterback (if only as an example) and plenty of patience. The latter could be the key in landing one more bat for that lineup.
Overall, this has been a productive offseason for the Rangers so far. Don't let a quiet week at Disney World fool you into thinking otherwise.