Alright, well, I'm still trying to get back into the right state of mind for this whole blogging thing, so bear with me as I continue to brush that rust off my shoulder:
● Texas was "never close" in terms of either total dollars or years on Prince Fielder, with their only hope of signing him being a precipitous drop in his asking price, meanwhile, ESPN.com's Keith Law speculates on what this means for the Rangers' long-term plans at first base: "Mitch Moreland can't be the long-term answer at first -- he's probably a platoon bat at best -- and they don't have a good first-base prospect in their upper levels, although they do have a top third-base prospect, Mike Olt, coming up behind Adrian Beltre. It's not necessary for them to upgrade at first to contend in the AL West, but it seemed like an obvious area for them to target heading into the offseason. Unless Moreland has an unexpected breakout and starts to hit left-handed pitching, it's probably their biggest untapped opportunity to add a few wins." (T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com)
[Law also remarks that the Rangers "[didn't] appear to have been in that hard on Fielder or Pujols" as part of his questioning of the team's long-term blueprint, which I suppose is completely true -- but, on the flip side, these are both contracts that have serious back-end downside potential (with borderline albatross potential), so I don't know that it's much of a commentary on the Rangers' long-term plans at first base that they didn't go especially "hard" after either option. In any event, going "hard" after Fielder to the extent the Tigers did would have been a terrible idea for Texas, as going just 5-6 years at around $23-24 million per annum would have been enough to induce substantial queasiness, so in no way am I perturbed by the fact that the Rangers never got too serious here.]
● The Rangers are drawing "considerable" trade interest on Koji Uehara -- who invoked his limited no-trade clause in blocking a deal that would have shipped him to Toronto for an undisclosed return -- and, to a presumably lesser extent, Scott Feldman, but there is no indication of a deal being imminent in either case; there's been a lot of buzz about Uehara wanting to return to Baltimore, but the Rangers haven't hammered anything out there as of yet, and there are said to be clubs even more interested in Uehara than the Orioles (T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com)
[Uehara is drawing a lot of ire for his rejection of a potential deal to Toronto, which I can understand from the perspective of a fan because, well, it's reasonable to believe that the proposed deal held some appeal to the Rangers in the form of young talent coming back their way. They apparently found something that worked in both Uehara's and their own best interests, and Uehara decided to blow it up, and that's no doubt frustrating. On the other hand, though, this isn't a case of Uehara circumventing the process as a means of attempting to control his fate, and a lot of this ire seems of the residual sort after his second-half struggles in Texas -- struggles that I don't expect will continue if he should remain in Texas, as he still profiles as an above-average late-inning reliever going in 2012.]
● According to MLB.com's Peter Gammons, two general managers believe Roy Oswalt wants to land in Texas and one more believes he'd like to sign with the Cardinals; per CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman, the Red Sox have reportedly made Oswalt an offer, but are unsure of his interest level, as he has yet to accept or decline their offer; Heyman also notes that mutual interest exists between the Rangers and Oswalt, but also mentions that Oswalt isn't "really a fit, so it'd have to be at [the Rangers'] price" (Jon Heyman, Twitter)
[This talk of Oswalt wanting to be a Ranger sounds similar to what we heard about Fielder wanting to be a Ranger, by which I mean that Oswalt wanting to be a Ranger doesn't really mean much of anything unless Texas is willing to come very close to matching his best offer. You also have to figure that a healthy Oswalt may furnish a talent upgrade of just one additional win or less in 2012, and that the likelihood of Oswalt remaining healthy over the entire life of a one- or two-year deal is not good, given his severe back problems and the likely debilitating effects of just one setback.
I would imagine that Oswalt will get around $8-10 million for 2012 with either a team option or an extra guaranteed year for 2013, and I don't expect that the Rangers are going to want to make a commitment at that level ... unless, of course, they're angling towards a Matt Harrison/Derek Holland trade, or harbor substantial concern about the current seven-man rotation depth chart remaining operational deep into the season.]