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Frank Catalanotto is back

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Sorry for the posting delay, but there were some sort of problems with the blogging software that locked me out. Anyway...

As everyone has likely heard by now, Frank Catalanotto has agreed to a three year deal to return to Texas. The deal will reportedly pay him $13.5 million, and includes a 4th year option.

You can see Cat's numbers here, and he's clearly been a solid, productive hitter throughout his career. I expect that the Rangers are bringing him in to serve the role that David Dellucci filled in 2004-05, a super-utility outfielder/DH type who will probably get 400 plate appearances or so splitting time between the corner outfield slots and DH.

This is one of those signings that I think needed to be made, and that I support, even though I wish it didn't have to be done. There's a good chance that the third year of the deal will be a white elephant, and I hate giving up a first round pick. But given the Rangers' situation, this deal has to be made, and it gives the Rangers some insurance.

While there's been some thought that this spells the end of Jason Botts' chances of being the DH in 2007, I disagree. If anything, I think this makes it more likely he'll be on the roster and DHing regularly in 2007, because I think this signing makes it less likely that the Rangers go out and get a Manny Ramirez or Luis Gonzalez or someone like that. And I think it is more likely that the Rangers pursue someone like Dave Roberts or Kenny Lofton for 2007 in center, rather than go after a Brian Anderson or give Fab 5 Freddy a shot...

At this point, my guess is that the "regular" lineup will include Wilkerson in LF, Cruz in RF, Botts at DH, and Cat splitting time between those three positions. I wouldn't be surprised if Cat played every day against righthanders, spelling either Cruz or Botts, while sitting against lefties.

I know some people will argue that, if the Rangers were willing to pay Cat this much, then why didn't they just pay Mark DeRosa (who is making a similar amount) and bring him back?

Two things there...first of all, DeRosa made it clear he wanted to be a regular, which Texas couldn't do.

Secondly, though, a lot of DeRosa's value is in his ability to play the infield. Cat is a better hitter, and what the Rangers need at this point, from this role, is someone who can hit, rather than someone who can play a lot in the infield.

In any case, solid signing...the Rangers now need to find a center fielder and two starting pitchers, and we can start thinking about spring training...

And for what it is worth, while losing the first rounder hurts, if another Type A is signed, it isn't nearly so painful, since the second round pick is likely to be around #80-90 overall...

So if the Rangers pop, say, Dave Roberts, and end up losing their first and second rounders as a result of signing Cat and Roberts, I have to say, I can live with that trade-off...