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Gil LeBreton and Tracy Ringolsby on the Rangers

Gil LeBreton has a column on the Rangers' 2005 season and the coming offseason, which includes his two cents on the ongoing G.M. speculation:

Hicks said Sunday that he expects Orel Hershiser to return to the organization, but he stopped short of saying in what capacity.

And when asked about general manager John Hart's future, Hicks rolled his eyes and announced that the informal interview was over.

Let the team have its Monday meetings first, Hicks said.

My educated guess? Hart will decide that he and his family are not having very much fun here, and he'll turn the GM keys over to someone else.

Hicks, not Hart, will pick the next general manager. Brian Cashman likely will be available as soon as the New York Yankees are eliminated.

In other words, let the hot stove whimsy begin.

* * *

What Hicks needs most this off-season, however, isn't more spending money, but more creativity. He needs better player evaluations than he's been getting.

Also, seemingly out of nowhere, LeBreton takes a shot at Alfonso Soriano towards the end of the column:

This team needs winners, not floaters. It needs players more interested in the AL West standings, than in how many stolen bases and All-Star second base votes they have.

Tracy Ringolsby, meanwhile, floats a rumor I hadn't heard before:

The chain of command could be adjusted with talk general manager John Hart will take a consulting job, manager Buck Showalter will step into the front office and coach Don Wakamatsu will become manager. LHP Kenny Rogers has no desire to return after management spent the season in a smear campaign.

Showalter as g.m.? that case, maybe I don't want Hart gone after all. Talk about being careful what you wish for...