CJ Wilson is everything the Rangers could want in looking at someone to re-sign -- he's the best starter on the staff, takes pride in his physical condition, plus he's homegrown and Rangers fans love him. Why aren't the Rangers going all-out to sign this guy?
-- Max M., Denton, Texas
His agent Bob Garber has met with just about every team except the Tokyo Giants and the Cuban Industriales to gauge interest. At some point, he will start entertaining serious offers and the Rangers will certainly make a serious offer. Is that going all-out? It's hard to say right now. Did the Rangers go "all-out" to sign Cliff Lee last year? Or Barry Zito after the 2006 season? There is always somebody who the Rangers have to go "all-out" for and it has been that way since Ruben Sierra over 20 years ago. But what the Rangers really have to do is put the best team they can on the field and the reality is you won't be able to evaluate their offseason work until March 1. Until then you can only advise them, which is a service we all provide but is rarely heeded.
Since the White Sox aren't interested in re-signing left-hander Mark Buehrle, what are the chances the Rangers would sign him? He does have a World Series ring from 2005, and I think he would be a better fit over Wilson in the rotation.
-- Grant W., Plano, Texas
The Rangers have shown interest in him. Buehrle, 32, is probably the second best starting pitcher on the free agent market behind Wilson. He is almost two years older than Wilson and not nearly as overpowering. He gives up hits but throws strikes and does not walk many. He'll give up the home run but also get the double play. He has won three straight Gold Gloves for his defense. He is not a No. 1 starter but he could be the veteran leader and stabilizing influence for a young starting rotation. He is definitely somebody the Rangers are considering.
What would "your" Rangers starting rotation look like in 2012 if they did not sign Wilson and didn't sign or trade for another starting pitcher?
-- Paul J., North Arlington, N.J.
My rotation would include Neftali Feliz along with Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando and Colby Lewis with Scott Feldman in reserve. The answer to your other question would be sign Joe Nathan and Frank Francisco to reinforce the bullpen. With Feliz being thrown under the bus for what happened in the World Series, it would seem now is the time to get him into the rotation and look elsewhere for a closer.
Do you think the Rangers have any interest in bringing back Frank Francisco or Francisco Cordero?
-- Paul F., Fort Worth, Texas
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The Rangers have expressed interest in Francisco, who was traded before last season for catcher Mike Napoli. That shows the Rangers are considering their options in case they decide to move Feliz to the bullpen. Cordero, 36, remains one of the premier closers in the game but a return to Arlington just doesn't seem to be a good fit unless he is willing to do a one or two-year contract. Cordero may be looking for more than that and probably isn't eager to come back. His time in Arlington didn't end well as he lost his job to Akinori Otsuka in 2006 and -- undeservedly -- wasn't very popular with the fans.
With third baseman Mike Olt having an impressive Arizona Fall League season, what do you think the Rangers' plans are for him?
-- William B., Surprise, Ariz.
He will likely start the season at third base for Double-A Frisco. If he continues to produce offensively, the Rangers may experiment with him at other positions -- either first base or a corner outfield spot -- similar to what they did with Chris Davis. Frisco will be a big step for him.
Why don't the Rangers ever play in throwback uniforms like some other clubs do? I think it would be great to wear old Rangers uniforms during the annual alumni and Rangers Hall of Fame weekend.
-- Max M., Denton, Texas
The Rangers have done that in the past but not recently. Some of those old Rangers uniforms were pretty horrible, like the old light powder blue or the blood clot red. They once donned the old black-and-red Washington Senators uniform and that looked pretty sharp.
Even though highly touted, pitcher Martin Perez is still just a prospect, and one that may not pan out. That applies to all other prospects as well. That being said, why don't the Rangers consider a trade involving Perez and say, Engel Beltre, and someone else for a true ace, such as Marlins right-hander Josh Johnson, or someone of that caliber?
-- Pablo G. Irving, Texas
The Marlins, who are supposedly trying to sign every free agent out there after 20 years of austerity, want to contend going into their new ballpark and aren't likely to trade established players for prospects at this point. Plus he has a history of injuries and made just nine starts last year because of a bad shoulder. The Rangers, having traded pitchers Joe Wieland and Robbie Erlin to the Padres for Mike Adams, don't need to be trading the one pitcher in their system who has a chance to be a No. 1 starter and as good or better than Wilson.
I was wondering who pays the salaries of Minor League players? What is a Minor League team owner financially responsible for?
-- Shaun H., Arlington
The Rangers pay the salaries of the Minor Leaguers while the teams pay for all other operating expenses. Remember Minor League teams only draw 8,000-10,000 fans per game under the best of circumstances.
Why are the Rangers looking to get Yu Darvish? Recently, big name players from Japan haven't panned out as everybody thinks they will.
-- Garret N., Carlisle, Pa.
Latest word is that it is "50-50" that Darvish will be posted this winter. That decision should be forthcoming in the next two weeks. You are right in that Japanese pitchers have met with mixed success in the Major Leagues, and Darvish will be a gamble of the total price comes out to over $100 million. He is also 6-foot-5 and just 25 years old, meaning that he is younger and more physically imposing than most Japanese pitchers. So of course some team will decide that he is going to be the exception and worth the investment. His statistics in Japan are quite impressive.
Do you see us re-signing Eric Hurley? I think he will still be a big-time starter.
-- Nathan S., Glen Rose, Texas
No. The Rangers probably did Hurley a favor by taking him off the 40-man roster and letting him become a free agent. He is close to being passed by Perez and Neil Ramirez on the Rangers prospect depth chart, is probably looking for a place where he has a much better chance of making it to the Majors and staying for an extended period of time. Texas does not appear to be that place.
Am I wrong to be so upset that Derek Holland was not saved to start Game 7 of the World Series? Am I wrong to feel that the odds would have been with us to beat Chris Carpenter had that happened?
-- Jim S., Double Oak, Texas
People are going to look back for the next 50 years and agonize over a dozen different reasons why the Rangers let the World Series get away. Everybody probably has their favorite reason they are still wondering about a month later. Ron Washington believes the right moves were made and the Rangers "just didn't get it done." So be it.
Do the Rangers have any interest in Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes. I know we have Leonys Martin in the waiting for center field, but what about putting this guy in left or right field. Any interest from the Rangers and would it be worth it?
-- Ronnie B., Little Elm, Texas
The Rangers are scouting him but he is looking for a big contract to sign in the United States, and word is the price tag is going to be $35-50 million. But the Rangers have made two things clear: they want to spend their money on pitching, and they are committed to keep their core players together going into the future. Chasing after Cespedes would seem to veer away from those two goals.
Who calls the pitches during the game -- the catcher or Washington via bench coach Jackie Moore? I know that they have a predetermined plan for each batter. I thought it was the catcher, but I see a lot of looks at bench.
-- Richard S., Mansfield, Texas
The catcher calls the game. He also looks over at the bench to get signs to help control the running game, whether it's a pitchout or making sure the pitcher throws over to first base. That is part of Moore's responsibility.
About the broadcasting, will it ever go back to 105.3 on the radio and maybe AM on the weekends like last year? This whole year I never got any games on the radio. I live in Corsicana, and 103.3 doesn't come in at all. For 2011, I couldn't receive in my garage, either of my two cars, and honestly, not even on my shower radio.
-- Sean B. Corsicana, Texas
You can get every team's radio broadcasts through MLB.com for a nominal fee and not have to worry about bad reception. Just don't take your computer into the shower with you.