10/27/2003 6:09 PM ET
Notes: Waiting game on free agents
Palmeiro, Thomson expected to test market
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
John Thomson could return to the Texas rotation at the right price. (Linda Kaye/AP)
ARLINGTON -- Ismael Valdes and Juan Gonzalez filed for free agency Monday and will not return to the club for the 2004 season. John Thomson and Rafael Palmeiro have not yet filed for free agency.
Those were among the several topics Rangers general manager John Hart discussed Monday.
"We have had conversations with J.T.'s agent several times and I think they want to explore the market and we are prepared for them to do that," Hart said. "In the case for Rafael, my instinct is that it is also what he is going to want to do. To get a reading on to what his value is, he will have to file and let other clubs tell him what the value is. I spoke with Tom [Hicks] toward end of dealings with the Cubs about the dollars [Palmeiro] was discussing and we were in no way, shape or form close."
The Rangers will not sign either free agent during the next two weeks, the period that gives exclusive rights to the Rangers, Hart said.
"We are going to look for a starter as we go along and that's no secret," Hart said. "Depending on economics, John would be a candidate. There are others we like also. We are not going to characterize us as signing John Thomson 'at all costs.'"
Andy Pettitte / P
Stats | Splits
Moreover, Hart said reports of Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte signing with the Rangers are simply rumors and are not accurate.
"We have been very clear that we are limited to what we can do financially," Hart said. "We are committed to get as much opportunities to our youngsters as possible. We will fill in appropriately as we go forward."
Additionally, Hart added the club is not going to be big players in the free-agent market this offseason and is not going to sign players that will cost them draft picks. The crop of potential free agents has been analyzed by the Rangers, but there is a commitment to finding out about the young talent currently in the organization.
Among that group is injured pitcher Ricardo Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, who had hip surgery, will soon be cleared to begin more baseball activities and the Rangers would like him to visit with the Rangers' "pitching people." Participation -- although monitored -- in Winter League play is a reality, Hart said.
Additionally, Hart mentioned that outfielder Laynce Nix remains a candidate for Winter League play, as does Kevin Mench, who is rehabbing from a broken left wrist. Mench, who missed the final months of the season, has been encouraged by the club to play whenever he is healthy.
Pitchers agree to terms: The Rangers agreed to terms with free-agent right-handed relievers Erik Sabel and Billy Sylvester on 2004 contracts with Triple-A Oklahoma. Both players have been invited to the Major League Spring Training camp as non-roster players.
Sabel, 29, was 2-3 with a 4.94 ERA and one save in 42 games (two starts) at Triple-A Tucson in the Arizona system in 2003. He is 3-2 with a 5.02 ERA in 50 Major League appearances, all with Arizona.
Sylvester, 27, had no record and a 3.86 ERA in 12 games (one start) at Triple-A Richmond and was 1-2 with 1.51 ERA in 41 appearances at Greenville in 2003 in the Atlanta organization. He has 85 career minor league saves.
Arizona Fall League update: Outfielder Ramon Nivar ranks fourth in batting average at .380 in 12 games and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez ranks fifth at .372 in 13 games. Gonzalez is also second in the league in on-base percentage with a .481 mark, ranks third in slugging with .698 and is tied for fourth with three home runs and 14 RBIs. ... Justin Echols is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA, Frank Francisco is 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA in eight relief appearances and Nick Regilio is 0-0 with a 3.31 ERA in five games for the Peoria Saguaros, who are 11-9 and in second place in the AFL's American Division.
The Rangers' 2003 Instructional League program concluded at the end of last week.
Among the standouts were infielder Micah Furtado, who hit .400 in 40 at-bats, first baseman Ian Gac (.318 with two home runs and nine RBIs in 44 at-bats) and outfielder Vince Sinisi (.381 with 11 RBIs in 63 at-bats).
Right-handed pitcher Kameron Loe had a 0.00 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 12 innings, right-handed pitcher Nick Masset had a 1.93 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 14 innings and right-handed pitcher David Mazurek had a 0.82 ERA in 11 innings.
We either make ourselves happy or miserable.
The amount of work is the same.