LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. It cost them $12,000 to do so and he goes on the club's restricted list because he's in the NFL.
[+] EnlargeAP Photo/Four Seam ImagesBaseball America once called Russell Wilson the fastest baserunner in Colorado's system.
The Rangers know Wilson is settling in to a successful career as the signal-caller for a Super Bowl contender. But they like Wilson's character and athletic ability, and even if baseball isn't in Wilson's future, the Rangers wants him around.
General manager Jon Daniels called Wilson -- he was impressed that the quarterback was working out shortly after the Rangers made the pick at 6:30 a.m. But Wilson expressed a desire to come to spring training and work out.
"We talk to our scouts about the makeup we want of our players and the work ethic it takes to win, and Russell Wilson has been an example of that," Daniels said. We wanted to welcome him to the organization and told him, 'Don't be insulted if you don't hear from us again until you're done playing because we don't want to get in the way of what you've got going on.'"
Daniels said Wilson wants to come to spring training and work out, and that it's open-ended; if Wilson wants to do more than that, he certainly can.
"Everything you see and read about him and seeing him play on Sundays, you hear about the work ethic, the person," Rangers assistant general manager A.J. At the end of the day, if he decides it's not something he wants to come back and do full-time, just having him around, having him talk to a group, I think there's definitely positives in all that."
The Rangers scouted Wilson in high school and college and considered him an athletic second baseman. I think the way he goes about his business, the professionalism, the competitor, [that's] the message that we try to preach throughout our organization.
"At the end of the day, he obviously has a lot bigger things that he's working on right now and we don't want to interrupt that aspect of it, but if at some point down the road he decides he wants to do the baseball thing again, we felt like it would be a positive to have him with us."
Preller said the next step is to reach out to Wilson and see how he feels about baseball and whether he'd have interest in working out with the team or coming to spring training.
Wilson was drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 draft by Colorado (he was also drafted in the 41st round by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2007 draft out of high school but opted to go to North Carolina State) and signed with the Rockies. They've also selected Riley Cooper and most recently Jameis Winston, who is the heavy favorite to win the Heisman Trophy this weekend and will lead his Florida State team against Auburn in the Vizio BCS National Championship next month.