The Rangers scouted Wilson in high school and college and considered him to be an athletic second baseman. Preller described him as a player with "good hands, [is a] solid runner and a guy that we thought before the draft that could bounce around to different positions."
"We feel like if he ever decided he wanted to come back and play again, he'd be a guy that we'd want in our system with us and see him develop," Preller said. "The biggest thing that intrigued us on Russell from afar is the makeup. 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."
Wilson was selected in the fourth round of the 2010 draft by Colorado -- he was taken in the 41st round by the Baltimore Orioles in 2007 out of high school but opted to go to NC State -- and signed with the Rockies. Once he received nearly $3 million from the Seahawks, he had to return part of his $200,000 signing bonus.
Wilson hit .229 with five homers and 19 stolen bases, striking out 118 times, in Class A in parts of the 2010 and '11 seasons.
The Rangers' scouting department believes strongly in acquiring good athletes and isn't hesitant to draft some who play other sports. Texas acquired the rights to Ricky Williams from Montreal after the Expos had taken him in the Rule 5 draft in 1998, even though the Texas running back and Heisman Trophy winner was likely headed for a career in the NFL.
The team has also selected wide receiver Riley Cooper and most recently quarterback Jameis Winston, the heavy Heisman favorite who will lead top-ranked Florida State against No. 2 Auburn in the Vizio BCS National Championship on Jan. 6.
Information from ESPN.com Seahawks reporter Terry Blount was used in this report.