The speculation of the moment at the Gaylord Opryland is that the Rangers are so far into talks with Josh Hamilton that they've started pursuing a complicated deal to land a starting pitcher in place of expensive Zack Greinke.

MLB sources said the Rangers have been in discussions with Tampa Bay about RHP James Shields in a trade that could involve three or four teams. Shields, who is signed through 2013 and has an option for 2014, was believed to be the Rangers' top fallback target if nothing could be completed Greinke.

Shields, who turns 31 on Dec. 20, was 15-10 in 2012 with a 3.52 ERA. He is considered a workhorse of a pitcher, going above 200 innings in each of the last six years. He has 1,330 innings in that time, which ranks fifth in the majors. Each of the pitchers ahead of him – CC Sabathia, Justin Verlander, Roy Halladay and Felix Hernandez – has won a Cy Young Award in that six-year period.

It has been an interesting afternoon in the lobby of the Opryland on the Rangers' speculation front. Early in the afternoon, it was reported the Rangers had made "progress" on a Hamilton deal. One source said late Tuesday afternoon that he believed the Rangers were "surrounding" Hamilton in an effort to finish off a deal. If the Rangers are pursuing Shields it would be consistent with the team making progress on Hamilton and moving on to a secondary pitching target rather than Greinke.

Added to all of this is the fact that Boston has reportedly agreed to a deal with Shane Victorino, which would possibly eliminate the Red Sox need for Hamilton in the outfield. Boston has been mentioned as the Rangers' main competition for Hamilton. Hamilton has also met with Seattle.