Something that I haven't seen discussed yet anywhere, in regards to the Frankie Francisco situation, is how they should handle his d.l. assignment procedurally.
Since he's out for the season, the normal move would be to put him on the 60 day d.l., which opens up a 40 man roster spot should it be needed.
On the other hand, while Francisco is on the 60 day d.l. (or the 15 day d.l., where he is now, for that matter), he continues to accrue service time creditable towards arbitration and free agency.
Francisco does have three options remaining, though. The Rangers could activate him, option him to the minors, and put him on the d.l. down there. Because he has plenty of options remaining, it is a pretty safe move...even if he isn't 100% at the start of 2006, he could be optioned down to work himself back into shape, and the team would still have one more option on him available to use in 2008 or future years.
Essentially, if he stays on the d.l. all season, rather than being optioned to the minors, he is arbitration-eligible and eligible for free agency a full season earlier than he would be otherwise.
The most logical move would seem to be to go ahead and option him and put him on the minor league d.l. It does mean that he stays on the 40 man roster, but given that Ryan Bukvich and Greg Colbrunn, among others, are currently taking up room there, it shouldn't be that big of a problem to free up space on the 40 man if need be.
So hopefully, we'll be seeing in the next few days the news that Frankie Francisco is being optioned to AA or AAA, which means that it is that much more likely than we'll see Frankie pitching as a Ranger in 2010 or 2011...