Free-agent pitcher C.J. Wilson has received contract offers from the Angels,… (Ron Jenkins / MCT )
Reporting from Dallas — The C.J. Wilson derby appears to be a two-team race between the Angels and Miami Marlins after the Texas Rangers all but resigned themselves to losing their ace Wednesday.
"Until C.J. makes a decision, we can't rule anything out, but we understand that's a realistic possibility," Texas General Manager Jon Daniels told Rangers writers at the winter meetings. "I haven't received a call to say he's chosen to go elsewhere, but we're prepared for that call."
The Rangers are believed to have offered Wilson a four-year deal in the $60-million range, but the Marlins reportedly have offered a six-year deal, and the Angels are believed to have offered a five-year contract in excess of $70 million.
Some thought the Marlins, who have already signed shortstop Jose Reyes and closer Heath Bell, would bow out of negotiations for Wilson after left-hander Mark Buehrle agreed to a four-year, $58-million deal with Miami earlier Wednesday.
But the Marlins' offer is still on the table, according to a person close to negotiations but not authorized to speak about them publicly. Wilson's agent, Bob Garber, went back to the Angels on Wednesday night to see if they would bump their offer to six years.
If the Angels stand firm, Wilson must choose between a longer deal in Miami, which has spent aggressively in anticipation of moving into a new stadium, and a shorter deal in Anaheim, which is home for Wilson, a former Fountain Valley High, Santa Ana College and Loyola Marymount pitcher.
"I have not made a decision," Wilson told mlb.com earlier Wednesday. "I'm still considering. It's like I'm being torn in different directions."
Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto declined to comment on Wilson, but he said his pursuit of the free-agent left-hander, which began last month at the GM meetings in Milwaukee, was not preventing him from making other moves.
"I don't know that his negotiation is holding anything up," Dipoto said. "You move at the pace the market moves. With free agents, the choice is theirs. I don't believe any one guy is the initial domino that has to fall in order to make other moves."
There was heavy speculation late Tuesday night that the Angels were pursuing Albert Pujols.
Dipoto did not categorically deny the Internet report, but the GM seemed lukewarm to the idea of signing the slugger, who is expected to command a deal in excess of $200 million.
"We're trying to improve the club in a variety of different ways, but [Pujols] is not necessarily where our focus has been," Dipoto said.
"We're not hyper-focused on any one target as being the guy who puts us in the World Series. We're focused on variety of targets who can make us a better and more balanced team."
Dipoto said his next move probably will be to add a short reliever through a trade or free agency.
"We're getting closer to getting deeper in the bullpen," Dipoto said. "If I had a sense that something would happen quickly, it would be that."
Dipoto reiterated that he is looking for an experienced setup man, not a closer to replace rookie Jordan Walden.
"I'm never averse to an upgrade, but it's going to be awfully hard to upgrade from a guy who throws 100 mph and saved 32 games at 23 years old," Dipoto said. "We want to find someone who can complement Jordan, not replace him.
"We want an experienced guy who can be a sounding board, who can take some [pressure] off him and help get the game to him. We want someone who can help get the last nine outs of the game.
"I see a bullpen as a relay team. Each one is handing the baton to another, and the primary objective is for Walden to be the anchor man on the relay team."