Heading into the weekend, the big thing is the ongoing Daisuke Matsuzaka story, with a lot of whispers and rumors, but no hard news just yet...
Jan Hubbard has an update of sorts on the situation, offering the following:
A baseball official with knowledge of the process said Thursday that the Rangers have made a major bid for the 26-year-old Japanese right-handed pitcher, perhaps close to $30 million, and that the Rangers have a chance to win exclusive negotiating rights.
Meanwhile, the Newark Daily Ledger says that the winning posting price may actually be less than $15 million, and that Seibu is having to mull over whether to actually accept it.
Also from Hubbard, the Rangers are bringing Don Wakamatsu back as third base coach, with Bobby Jones managing AAA Oklahoma next year. Hubbard also reports that Vicente Padilla is attempting to negotiate his current contract without an agent, and is asking for more than $10 million per year, which is higher than the Rangers are willing to go.
Meanwhile, Buck Showalter is in talks to join the Cleveland Indians' front office. Cleveland, of course, is the old stomping grounds of Buck BFF John Hart, and Indian g.m. Mark Shapiro is a Hart protege, so I don't think it takes the Amazing Kreskin to see what is likely going on here.
On the J.D. Drew situation that I blogged about last night, two papers out of L.A. are both saying that the Rangers are among the teams who could be/are interested in Drew, now that he's a free agent.
As I mentioned before, in this market, I see no way Drew doesn't get more than the 3 years, $33 million he had left on his old contract. It may be January or February until he signs, and he may be a consolation prize for whatever team tried, and failed, to land Carlos Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Gary Sheffield, and possibly Pat Burrell, but he'll get big money.
Finally, the Chicago Tribune lists the teams expected to make heavy runs after GMJ, with the Cubs, the ChiSox, Boston, the Angels, and Arizona making the list (although why the D-Backs would want GMJ, when they already have Chris Young, is beyond me).