The Texas Rangers became the latest team to talk to free-agent pitcher Randy Johnson, according to published reports.
The Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Wednesday that Rangers general manager Doug Melvin and manager Johnny Oates spent about two hours with Johnson, his wife Lisa, and agents Barry Meister and Alan Nero on Tuesday afternoon at Johnson's home in Paradise Valley, Ariz.
Johnson had earlier met with representative of Arizona, Houston and Los Angeles. The Anaheim Angels and New York Yankees also plan to meet with the pitcher who was traded from the Seattle Mariners to the Houston Astros on July 31.
Melvin was optimistic following the meeting.
"I don't think he'd have us at his home for that long if we weren't on his short list," Melvin said.
Teams cannot discuss money with free agents until 15 days after the end of the World Series, but they can do what amounts to recruiting before then.
The Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday that Astros owner Drayton McLane Jr. and general manager Gerry Hunsicker are believed to have offered Johnson a three-year contract worth between $33 million and $36 million.
| Randy Johnson is a popular host these days. (AP) |
The club wouldn't divulge numbers, but Hunsicker on Tuesday railed against the newspaper report, calling the dollar figure "aggressive."
"We met with him and made a serious offer, but as far as (revealing) the term or dollars involved, it's just not appropriate," said Hunsicker, who acknowledged that any deal would be for more than one year.
Johnson, 35, reportedly wants a three-year contract with an average annual saary of about $12 million. Outfielder Juan Gonzalez is now the highest-paid Ranger with an $8.5 million salary.
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