ARLINGTON — The Rangers are a team that could use offensive reinforcements, and it continues to look likely that reunions with Mike Napoli and Josh Hamilton are their next steps in addressing the situation.
Major League sources indicate the Rangers are moving closer to a deal with Napoli, with discussions centered around a two-year deal. An agreement is not yet imminent, but both sides are highly motivated to get a deal done, even though there remains interest in Napoli from other clubs, including possibly Oakland and Baltimore.
A Minor League deal with Hamilton is considered a formality. The Rangers’ medical staff recently gave Hamilton a clean bill of health in his recovery from left knee surgery and now it is a matter of working out the details.
The Rangers’ offices are closed for the holidays, but that doesn’t prevent work from getting done.
The Rangers are looking for offensive help after the departure of Carlos Beltran, Mitch Moreland and Ian Desmond to free agency. The Rangers re-signed Carlos Gomez to play center field but they still could use another big bat in the middle of the order at either first base or designated hitter.
WS2016 Gm3: Napoli lays out for stop, nabs Contreras
Mike Napoli dives to his left for a fine stop, then sprints to first to retire Willson Contreras in the bottom of the 7th
Napoli is one of the top free-agent power hitters left on the market. He hit .239 with 34 home runs, 101 RBIs and a .465 slugging percentage in 2016. He was with the Rangers from 2011-12 and for 35 games in 2015.
Hamilton did not play at all in 2016. He underwent reconstructive knee surgery last summer and was released by the Rangers on Aug. 23. The date was significant. If the Rangers had released Hamilton after Sept. 1 and then re-signed him to a Minor League deal, he would not have been eligible to play in the Major Leagues until May 15.
Hamilton will still have to come to Spring Training and win a spot on the team. But he said last summer he felt confident he could do that if he is healthy.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.