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Daniels, Rangers seek productive Winter Meetings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Opryland Hotel, with 2,881 rooms, 220 suites and 15 restaurants, is the largest non-casino hotel in the continental United States outside Las Vegas. This sprawling facility on the banks of the Cumberland River is where Rangers general manager Jon Daniels will spend the next four days.

Daniels is hoping they will be four productive days at baseball's annual Winter Meetings. He went into the offseason with a pretty good list of things to do, and so far he has not been able to achieve any of his objectives. It has been two months since the Rangers lost to the Orioles in the American League Wild Card game -- and they have yet to make a major move this offseason.

But the Rangers were in the same situation in 2009 in Indianapolis, Ind., and '10 in Orlando, Fla. -- and before those offseasons were over, they had made the initial necessary moves that put them on the road to the World Series. So maybe Nashville will serve the same purpose.

"My expectation is that in the next 10 days to two weeks, you'll see considerably more business being done and things pick up a little bit," Daniels said last week before arriving in Nashville on Sunday, along with his team of scouts and other members of the Rangers' front office, as well as manager Ron Washington.

Daniels has much to do. He needs to find a catcher, and he needs to reinforce the Rangers' bullpen. He also needs to know if outfielder Josh Hamilton is coming back to Texas and if pitcher Zack Greinke is interested in pitching in Arlington. As always, Daniels will talk trades with other teams -- and if the Mets are willing to move R.A. Dickey, the Rangers would be willing to talk to them. Outfield and left-handed hitting are also items to consider, if the Rangers aren't able to re-sign Hamilton.

"It has been a little different offseason," Daniels said. "The last couple of years we have been pretty targeted. We were a set club and we made a couple of big additions each year: Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli two years ago, and Joe Nathan and Yu Darvish last year. I have to give credit to our talent evaluators -- they were right on all four.

"We have more things we have to do this year. It's a different offseason -- a different challenge. We knew it was coming."

The last time baseball held the Winter Meetings in Nashville was in 2007. It was during that session that Daniels first started talking to the Reds about acquiring Hamilton. The deal didn't get completed until after Daniels returned to Texas, but the groundwork was at least laid in Nashville.

Maybe something of that magnitude will happen again this week, as Daniels sits up in his suite at the massive resort. The Winter Meetings are ready to begin again.

Texas Rangers, Yu Darvish, Zack Greinke, Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, Joe Nathan