It's been coming for a while, but the Texas Rangers appear to be getting used to life without Josh Hamilton, as they've turned their attention to the other superstar available on the 2013 free-agent market.
That would be former Cy Young winner Zack Greinke, who is easily the most highly regarded pitcher available this winter. But whether Texas has a realistic shot at landing the soon-to-be former Angels ace remains to be seen.
Despite reports (via ESPN.com) claiming the Rangers had offered Hamilton a three-year max-deal, it now appears that that contract proposal was never tabled.
That's because Jon Heyman, CBS Sports' Baseball Insider, says that the Rangers have focused their efforts on reeling in Greinke, regardless of whether that costs the team the All-Star outfielder:
The Rangers have joined the fray for Zack Greinke in another sign that superstar outfielder Josh Hamilton's days in Texas are numbered.
The incumbent Angels are seen as the favorite for Greinke, but as one GM said here, they are going to get geographic (Dodgers) and divisional (Rangers) competition. The Nationals are one of many others who may make a play for Greinke, and as Angels GM Jerry Dipoto said, 'I assume all 29 teams have some level of interest.'
Texas has made no offer to Hamilton (no, the Rangers didn't make a three-year offer, as rumored), and while they've held open the possibility of bringing him back, they are concentrating their efforts on Greinke while allowing Hamilton to look elsewhere.
The Rangers' chances to keep Hamilton may now depend on them 1) losing out on Greinke, and 2) Hamilton finding nothing great elsewhere.
At this point, it seems extremely unlikely that Hamilton will return to Texas, especially given his former team's apparent indifference, or at least absence of urgency, in getting his signature on a long-term deal.
Hamilton will receive more lucrative offers than what the Rangers appear willing to give him, and unless something drastic happens soon, he'll be entertaining contract proposals from a variety of suitors.
In addition, with Texas actively pursuing Greinke, Hamilton must realize that he's no longer the Rangers' top priority. But it seemed that he'd read the writing on the wall by the end of the 2012 season.
He's going to get a six-figure contract offer from someone, but it won't be Texas, and unless they're low-balling Greinke as well, the Rangers are almost certainly tabling relatively more desirable offers to the All-Star starting pitcher.
Regardless of whether the Rangers do ultimately acquire Greinke, the fact that the team's management is more concerned with signing him than Hamilton will be the final nail in the coffin for the former AL MVP.