Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 2/12/12
The signing of Mike Napoli Sunday by the Texas Rangers could signify the end of any significant moves for the club before the season starts. Money is the reason as the Rangers could open the season with a payroll in excess of 120 million. "At the moment in time were actually over (budget)," said general manager Jon Daniels Sunday. "Im not 100 percent sure. Obviously in-season moves have a way of moving that around. As far as any flexibility we have, we dont right now." The Rangers officially signed Napoli to a one year, 9.4 million deal Sunday that takes care of Napolis final year of arbitration. There are still free agents available the Rangers have been linked with lefty reliever Michael Gonzalez and right-hander Roy Oswalt but the chances of the club signing either of them appears to be slim. "You never want to shut the door," Daniels said. "There's a level of interest in both guys, but as far as a fit and payroll-wise, it's not as easy to see it." Even with the signing of Napoli, Daniels said he feels like the team still has two catchers capable of being starters in Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba. He said it will be up to Texas manager Ron Washington to divvy up the playing time between the two but the at-bats at first base and designated hitter should make that easier. Another concern with Napoli is his left ankle, which he severely sprained in Game 6 of the World Series. Daniels said Napoli has had the ankle looked at several times by team doctor Keith Meister and there is nothing structurally wrong with it. Daniels said a key test for Napoli will be to see how he responds in spring training, which begins next week. Getting Napoli under contract continues a streak of the Rangers not going to arbitration hearings to 12 years. The last one was Lee Stevens in 2000. Daniels, who has never had a play go to a hearing, thought that streak might end this year as the Rangers had three players Elvis Andrus, Nelson Cruz and Napoli scheduled for hearings at this time last week. "At the end of day, our goal is not to walk into a hearing if we can avoid it," Daniels said. "Both sides agreed, we got a deal done, and we're happy about it." Daniels said the club is talking with some players about extending their deals, but those moves may not come until spring training if at all. One of those players is Josh Hamilton, although Daniels said the focus right now is on his family and his recovery from a relapse with alcohol.
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