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Goodbye, Orel Hershiser...

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So the latest twist in the ongoing Orel Hershiser saga...

Hershiser, of course, was thought by some (including me) to have the inside track on taking over for John Hart whenever Hart would decide to leave/get fired...we were wrong, of course, as Jon Daniels took over.

Hershiser, who had made it clear he wanted to be a g.m. at some point, then appeared to be the frontrunner to be named either the manager or general manager for the Dodgers once Paul DePodesta was forced out. Alas, the Dodgers went in a different direction, and Hershiser ended up staying with the Rangers, albeit as what appeared to be almost an intern-type position with COO Jeff Cogen, rather than an on-field position, or even an assistant g.m. position.

Now, according to Jim Reeves, Hershiser is leaving the organization altogether, going to Baseball Tonight in some sort of analyst position.

From the sounds of things, I tend to think that Hershiser viewed the pitching coach job in Texas as a dead-end, which drove his lobbying to go back to Los Angeles. The Rangers, meanwhile, didn't appear to be too interested in finding a spot in the front office for Hershiser, that would help him develop the skills necessary for him to reach his ultimate goal.

So the news that he is leaving the organization altogether is not real surprising...my guess is that he spends a year on Baseball Tonight, essentially doing a six month interview for anyone interested in him, and then joins a front office after the 2006 season.

Reeves also reports that Kevin Mench's agent "all but begged" the Rangers to put the contract offer from the middle of last season -- a 3 year, $12 million deal -- back on the table, after Mench's awful second-half fade, with the Rangers refusing to do so.

Actually, I should say "former agent," since Mench fired Ivan Schwartz, the agent who advised him to reject that deal, and has hired a new rep.

"Kat" O'Brien has some notes from the Rangers Fan Fest, with the highlights including reports of "an almost giddy sense of eagerness for the upcoming season" amongst the players, with Mike Young saying he's never been this excited about a season, and John Wetteland attending the festivities despite having accepted a job with the Nationals as their bullpen coach, a pretty classy move from someone who, from all reports, has been one of the classiest individuals to be associated with the Rangers organization.

O'Brien also reports that Frankie Francisco is scheduled to throw off a mound next week, putting him on track to be ready for the majors as soon as May, which puts him ahead of schedule for most T-J recuperators.

Finally, if you just can't get enough of Tom Hicks, read Mike Heika's feature piece on Hicks' stewardship of the Stars and Rangers.