T.R. Sullivan has some new notes up today, mainly centering around Don Wakamatsu's situation, and the Rangers' pending free agents.
Sullivan has this on Wakamatsu:
Wakamatsu will be the last candidate interviewed. He remains eager to make his pitch and there is still a perception out there that he is the leading candidate because of his relationship with Daniels.
"I would like for it to be that way," Wakamatsu said with a laugh. "I think if you have a checklist of what you want from a manager, one would be the relationship with the general manager, the confidence level and the trust factor.
"No. 2 is not having to learn the players and the talent level. The learning curve there is good. The other thing is building trust and a relationship with the most influential guys on the club. I think I've done that. I think there's a phenomenal relationship in place and we can build on that honesty and trust."
Wakamatsu understands that relationships with players may be the No. 1 factor in who is hired as manager.
"I think you need to be positive, be able to communicate and provide the kind of support system that allows a player to succeed," Wakamatsu said. "You look at a guy like Jim Leyland, I think his success comes from being open and honest with players, telling them the way it is. You communicate by being positive and being crystal clear.
"These players are big boys, they want to know where they stand. Sometimes if you're not brutally honest with them, that makes it worse."
Again, the thing that you hear a lot about Wakamatsu is that he has a good relationship with the players, and with Jon Daniels. I have to wonder if Daniels might not favor Wakamatsu some because he feels Wakamatsu would be more pliable to doing things the way Daniels wants them done...that there wouldn't be a situation where the manager resists doing things the way Daniels wants them done, as I suspect may have been the case with Jason Botts and Fabio Castro this past season.
Sullivan also says that the team expects GMJ and Carlos Lee to be Type A free agents, Mark DeRosa and Rod Barajas to be Type B free agents, and Vicente Padilla to be on the border between A and B.
As I've mentioned before, I do think Barajas will be a Type A, and as others have pointed out in the comments, DeRosa's status as a Type B could be jeopardized by the fact that he'll likely be categorized as an outfielder, rather than an infielder, which gives him stiffer competition in the rankings in terms of offensive numbers.
Sullivan also indicates that the most substantive talks with the pending free agents have been with Padilla, which is encouraging, as he's the guy who I think should be the top priority. However, it does sound like all the f.a.-eligible guys will at least file and see what else is out there, rather than sign while the Rangers have exclusive negotiating rights.