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On the payroll, Daniels, Soriano and Hart

Jim Reeves with a column this morning, focusing on the mysterious Rangers' budget figures for 2006, and what Jon Daniels has to do to improve the team.

What is encouraging to me is Daniels' comments in that column about the 2004 bullpen, pointing out that it was built mainly with minor league free agents. I've been a bit concerned that, with the vocal emphasis on the need to improve the pen, we'd see a repeat of the TVP/Powell fiascos from 2001-02, with the team overspending on mediocre free agent relievers.

Jon Heyman, in New York Newsday, has this tidbit in the midst of some comments on the Mets' search for a bat:

Mets people instead might have to consider Alfonso Soriano, who's available and only a year from free agency, meaning Texas couldn't hold them up. However, Mets people appear to have deep-rooted reservations about Soriano.

Yeah, well, so do the Rangers. The Rangers need to move Soriano this offseason. Jon Daniels, hopefully, has come to grips with the fact that the huge package that the Rangers have been expecting to get in exchange for Soriano since he got here almost 2 years ago isn't going to materialize. Instead, the Rangers should either try to move him for, say, a Mike Cameron, or else try to pick up a prospect or two for him.

Heyman also has this gem on the Dodgers' g.m. search:

The McCourts are more known for their firing, but it's time for hiring now. They'll interview Kim Ng (but not Bill Singer) and fine baseball man Roy Smith for GM but are focusing on experienced folks such as Epstein, Larry Beinfest, John Hart and Jim Bowden. Given that they have yet to make a correct move, the guess here is Hart (if they can get him off the golf course).

Hart, meanwhile, will be speaking with Frank McCourt about the Dodgers' g.m. job today.

Hopefully, McCourt takes Hart off the Rangers' hands.