The first significant deadline of the off-season arrived Friday, and, as expected, the Texas Rangers made a qualifying contract offer to free agent Josh Hamilton and passed on catcher Mike Napoli. But that wasn't the biggest news during an afternoon conference call with general manager Jon Daniels, who somewhat matter-of-factly said that Alexi Ogando will be in the 2013 starting rotation. Though the decisions are hardly a shocker, they help shape how the Rangers will go forward with their plans for next season. The Rangers need one more starter and will attempt to lure one via free agency. Their top target is Zack Greinke, the best starter on the free-agent market, but their top off-season priority is to reshape the bullpen and find a catcher. That could be Napoli, but not at the predetermined qualifying price tag of $13.3 million. "We determined we didn't want to start the off-season making that investment at that dollar number," Daniels said. "But I don't want to sit here and say anything bad about Mike. We have a number of things we want to do, and we want it all to work together." The Rangers made Napoli a three-year, $38 million offer last winter, which he declined after a career-best 2011 season. But he struggled in 2012, hitting 93 points lower at .227. With Geovany Soto as the only veteran catcher on the roster, the Rangers need someone else to carry the load. "It's not a good year to need catching, and we're aware of that," Daniels said. "We're going to look at all of our options, free agency and trades." Hamilton received the qualifying offer essentially as a formality. If he accepts by the 4 p.m. deadline Nov. 9, he would be taking a slight pay cut from his 2012 salary and would forfeit all chances of a multiyear offer from another club.
Texas Rangers offer Hamilton, but not Napoli, and promote Ogando
Fort Worth Star-Telegram | Nov 3