Kicking off 2006...
T.R. Sullivan has a notes column on the Rangers this morning. A lot of interesting stuff in there, including Sullivan's identification of Laynce Nix as a "key guy" for the Rangers' hopes for improvement from the lineup, his statement that the second base job is Ian Kinsler's to lose, and his suggestion that the Rangers are prepared to cut bait with Phil Nevin if he doesn't show significant improvement in spring training.
Sullivan also has this to say about the Eaton/Young trade:
Trading pitcher Chris Young for Adam Eaton seems risky.
Young won 12 games in a hitter's park and in the American League, while Eaton won 11 games in a pitcher's park and in the National League.
Young has five years before he can be a free agent. Eaton, who has significant talent, can walk after the 2006 season.
The Rangers obviously think Eaton has more upside and that they can re-sign him after the season, still a dubious proposition with any pitcher here. Unspoken is that they have concerns about Young, whether it's health or a limited upside.
Also acquiring reliever Akinori Otsuka could make it a better deal, but the Rangers might end up regretting this one.
Sullivan isn't the type of reporter who would come right out and opine on a deal, but I get the sense he isn't a big fan of this trade...
Phil Rogers also weighs in on the Millwood deal today. There are some echos of the ARod-contract-criticism, with Rogers alleging that the Ranger bid almost double what the Red Sox offered -- which isn't really true -- but he also gives Daniels credit for rapidly overhauling the rotation.
Finally, and not real surprisingly, Gerry Fraley's HOF choices are a joke...
Fraley's hall ballot
Albert Belle -- Nine consecutive 100-RBI seasons
Andre Dawson -- Best all-around center fielder of the 1980s
Goose Gossage -- Most intimidating pitcher of his era
Don Mattingly -- Better than Wade Boggs, who went in last year
Jack Morris -- Game 7 of '91 World Series alone is enough
Jim Rice -- Looks better in light of current steroid scandal
Lee Smith -- An all-time leader cannot be denied
Bruce Sutter -- Brought split-finger fastball into vogue
Only two guys on that list -- Albert Belle and Goose Gossage -- are guys who I think are legitimate HOFers.
Meanwhile, Fraley continues to push guys like Rice, Dawson, Morris and Mattingly, whose credentials have been thoroughly debunked in many, many places (including here) over the past few years.
Calling Dawson the "best all-around center fielder of the 1980s," incidentally, is a joke...particularly considering that Dale Murphy, who was better than Dawson in the 1980s, is also on the ballot. Almost as much of a joke as calling Mattingly better than Wade Boggs...
Meanwhile, there's no Bert Blyleven and no Alan Trammell on Fraley's ballot...even though those two players are better HOF candidates than anyone Fraley picks...