Rangers won't rush decisions

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- There was no blockbuster signing at the winter meetings for the Texas Rangers.

Josh Hamilton didn't put on his familiar No. 32 uniform again. Zack Greinke wasn't posing for photos with general manager Jon Daniels and CEO Nolan Ryan. Justin Upton, James Shields and R.A. Dickey haven't made any plans to relocate to the Lone Star State. And Michael Young is still a Ranger.

That's where it stands right now, at least. Things are clearly subject to change.

Just because the trades or signings didn't happen amid the cavernous pathways and winding streams at the humongous Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center doesn't mean they won't happen at some point. And it could be soon.

"I think we have a sense of a couple of things that are possible, and hopefully we'll be able to advance the ball there," general manager Jon Daniels said. "I feel like we have a better sense of what's real and what's not."

Some are blaming the Rangers for holding up the winter meetings, making everyone wait before other moves can happen. That's only partially true. They can't control how long Hamilton or Greinke wait to see how many suitors they have for their services.

But at this point, the Rangers are content to wait for one of those bigger dominoes to fall so that they can then scurry off in whichever direction is needed to further improve the club in 2013. And the fact that they have so many baseballs in the air and haven't caught any of them yet has some other teams waiting before they can proceed.

"We're looking at different options," Daniels said. "Because of the number of free agents we have and some of the versatility we have, there's a lot of different ways we can go. That's the good part. The flip side is we have a lot of work to do. We've tried to address a number of things."

So what if it takes them a little bit longer to decide what to do? So what if it means others grow a bit impatient?

The Rangers have to do what they feel is necessary to make the club better. They've got the financial resources to be in on any big free agent and the farm system to talk trades with anybody. And they'd like to do those deals at their tempo. Sometimes that's possible, sometimes it isn't. If Greinke decides he's ready to get a deal done, then things will start happening. But until he does, the Rangers will wait.

But that won't stop them from exploring any and all options to improve.

"We want to make deals," Daniels said. "We don't want to sit here every day and talk about the idea of making deals. It just hasn't happened yet."

Interestingly, Daniels compared these winter meetings to the 2009 edition in chilly Indianapolis. Things were a little different in Rangers-land then. They didn't make any big splashes at the meetings that week, but they laid the foundation for future deals. Texas ended up trading Kevin Millwood, signing Colby Lewis and Vladimir Guerrero and acquiring Rich Harden and Darren Oliver.

They did it all while in bankruptcy.

Three years later, Daniels is trying to target needs and fill holes again. But the names are substantially bigger, not to mention the checkbook.

"We had a plan, and everything kind of came together," Daniels said about 2009. "I think this year is somewhat similar. We didn't put anything across the finish line, but we're pushing that direction."

Texas is in the process of remaking part of the club that collapsed down the stretch, blowing a five-game lead in the AL West with nine to play and then falling to Baltimore in the AL wild-card game.

They need to reassemble most of the bullpen, find another catcher and figure out which additional arm will join the rotation -- either Greinke or via trade for Shields, Dickey or someone else. Of course, there's also the outfield question and whether Hamilton will be roaming the grass at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

To get answers to those questions, Daniels has said everything is on the table. But it takes time to sort through it all.

Get used to that approach, baseball world. It's how the Rangers operate.

Oh, and stay tuned. Those blockbusters could happen at any moment.