FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Rangers general manager Jon Daniels has maintained contact with Josh Hamilton's agent, and said Thursday that the slugger's free agency process has gone as expected so far.
"I think the interest has been consistent," Daniels said. "The process that we agreed to really back in the spring, when we tabled negotiations at that point, was that Josh was going to test the market and once he had a sense of that would circle with us, and I think he's still in that process."
Speaking on a conference call in advance of next week's winter meetings, Daniels said that it has worked out well for the Rangers since they are still sorting through some options. But along with that upcoming gathering in Nashville, there are more trades and free-agent signings being made around the league.
"The market's starting to move," Daniels said. "I would think things on both Josh's end as well as on our end, things we're looking at, I would expect things will start moving a little bit."
Hamilton is a free agent for the first time after hitting a career-high 43 home runs with 128 RBIs in 148 games this past season for Texas. The 2010 AL MVP has hit .304 with 161 homers in his six major league seasons, the last five with the Rangers.
In the meantime, catching and the bullpen are priority issues for the Rangers.
Mike Napoli, who has spent the past two seasons in Texas, is a free agent who has drawn interest from Boston, Seattle and possibly other teams. He met with the Rangers on Wednesday.
The Rangers also ended last season with catcher Geovany Soto. The deadline for teams to offer 2013 contracts is 11 p.m. CST Friday. If Texas can't reach agreement with him by then, the Rangers likely would fail to offer a contract and allow him to become a free agent rather than face the possibility of salary arbitration.
Soto made $4.3 million last season and hit .196 with five homers and 25 RBIs in 47 games for the Rangers after being acquired July 30 from the Chicago Cubs.
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