Guess who's back, back again ...
● Since I'm going to at least attempt to play a little catch-up here and not pretend that a bunch of stuff hasn't been going on, Hamilton declined the Rangers' qualifying offer on Friday, and there are rumblings that the Rangers' eventual offer to Hamilton will max out at three years, which the Rangers fervently deny. So it goes ...
● Bob Nightengale reported last week that the Rangers attempted to swing a trade for Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons that, in theory, would have allowed them to move Simmons in a separate deal to the Diamondbacks for Justin Upton without touching Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar. That ship appears to have sailed, though, and per Ken Rosenthal, the Rangers are still refusing to budge on moving either Andrus or Profar for Upton. I should have a (legitimate) post up later today delving further into this Upton thing and some of the commonly whiteboarded scenarios that have been kicked around ever since the MIF logjam began to take shape.
● Richard Durrett names some Rangers who need to step up their performance in 2013, including, notably, Derek Holland and Nelson Cruz (the latter of whom will bank $10.5 million in his final year of club control in 2013). Durrett questions whether Cruz will be able to establish himself as part of the club's longer-term plans, which leads me to point this out: he's entering his age-32 season, he's posted back-to-back <2 WAR seasons, and he's posted a wRC+ north of 115 only once in his career (2010, which is drifting further and further away in the rear-view mirror). I've been in love with the tools from day one, and I will always cherish his post-season contributions and respect the fact that he came back from the verge of being released to becoming a key piece of this team ... but I have some trouble believing that Cruz is going to still be part of the organization come spring 2014.
● Over the weekend, the Dodgers won the bidding for Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu at $25.7 million, and I suppose that, in turn, means that the Rangers "lost," given the reports that they submitted a bid; it feels like the potential for the winner's curse rearing its ugly head at the Dodgers may be greater than usual here, though, with some in the industry -- notably Keith Law -- being fairly bearish on his chances of being more than a "back-end starter with some question about durability."
● T.R. Sullivan reiterates that Texas intends to pursue Zack Greinke, and mentions some of the offensive options that the Rangers could pursue while noting that they're "lukewarm" on Nick Swisher and disinterested on Michael Bourn.
● Jurickson Profar popped his first career walk-off homer in yesterday's DWL tilt.