T.R. Sullivan with a heart-warming article today on how Tom Hicks has gotten fiscal religion, and is no longer going to spend money on the Rangers, saying that the team has to spend within its means and rely on its farm system.
Sullivan says that the payroll is expected to be in the mid-$60 million range, although he also mentions Hicks saying that the payroll will also be "player specific", so I'm not sure if that means that payroll will be at most in the mid-$60 million range, if they get the specific players they want, or if they'll expand beyond the mid-$60 million range for the right player.
Sullivan also has a ten to watch column that highlights ten players and ten "wheelers and dealers" to keep an eye on at the winter meetings. He pegs Soriano as one of the ten players, and lists both Jon Daniels and Grady Fuson in the wheelers and dealers column, suggesting that Fuson will probably snag a player or two from the Rangers' farm system in the Rule 5 draft, and try to work a deal between the two teams.
While I'm thinking -- hoping -- that the much-rumored Laird/Gonzalez for Eaton trade is dead, I do think Fuson will be looking at a couple of his former draftees in the Rule 5 draft. I expect John Hudgins -- who was getting rave reviews in 2004, but then fell out of favor with the current regime and fell off the map in 2005 -- to be selected by the Padres in the Rule 5 draft, and wouldn't be surprised if Drew Meyer were taken, as well.
In the DMN, meanwhile, Evan Grant has a long feature piece on Scott Boras...