Hamilton attends Meetings, still on Rangers' radar

Hamilton attends Meetings, still on Rangers' radar

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Baseball has come to the capital of Tennessee for the Winter Meetings. So too has free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton.

Hamilton and his wife Katie flew from Dallas to Nashville on Sunday. Hamilton joked with those who saw him that he is "just visiting." However, he and his agent Mike Moye likely have more on their agenda than just that. On that same flight was Rangers general manager Jon Daniels.

Hamilton is the top free agent position player on the market, but so far interest in him appears to be skittish. That may be because of his perceived high demands, concerns about his history of injuries, or a combination of both.

But right now no team has emerged as the heavy favorite to sign him and the idle speculation at the Opryland Resort is that he'll eventually end up re-signing with the Rangers. Daniels has said the Rangers are interested in re-signing Hamilton and they have stayed in contact with Moye. Beyond that, Daniels has not commented on the state of negotiations.

The Rangers have been operating under the assumption that Hamilton would test the market and come back to them before making a final decision. Hamilton said at the end of the season he wants to stay with the Rangers and his family has a home in Tarrant County.

The Orioles, Mariners, Phillies, Red Sox and Brewers have all been mentioned as potential suitors for Hamilton. But one industry source said the Orioles are not going to get involved and another source said the Phillies aren't likely to do so, either. Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik and Brewers GM Doug Melvin have already expressed concerns earlier this winter about Hamilton's possible asking price.

There may be other teams that could get involved. Some teams could change their approach as the offseason progresses and the price comes down. Right now, there seems to be reluctance for teams to go beyond a four-year deal for Hamilton.

Hamilton also has a past history of drug and alcohol dependency. Coming to Nashville, meeting with potential suitors in person and answering their questions could be a way for Hamilton to help dispel those concerns.

Hamilton hit .285 with 43 home runs and 128 RBIs for the Rangers in 2012. During his five years with the Rangers, Hamilton hit .305 with a .363 on-base percentage and a .549 slugging percentage while averaging 28 home runs and 101 RBIs per season. He played in 148 games for the Rangers this season, but averaged just 129 games played per season over the past five years while missing time due to various injuries.

Two outfielders have come off the market already this winter with B.J. Upton signing with the Braves and Torii Hunter signing with the Tigers.

Profar shut down for Winter: Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar has been shut down from Winter Ball in the Dominican Republic due to inflammation in his right forearm. The Rangers are hoping the injury is not serious, but Profar is expected to be examined by Dr. Keith Meister in Texas this week.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.