More Ron Washington love out there...
T.R. Sullivan says that Ron Washington's presence as Ranger manager has resulted in Barry Zito putting the Rangers on his list. Zito apparently wasn't considering the Rangers before, but playing for Washington is enticing enough that he's willing to look at the Rangers now. Kat O'Brien touches on the same issue, along with a couple of other players, Jermaine Dye and Torii Hunter (both free agents after 2007) who have expressed the same sentiment.
You know, this was one of the points I have been hammering on since Buck Showalter was first hired in Texas. Buck, whatever his good points, is not a manager players want to play for. Regardless of what you think about Alex Rodriguez, ARod didn't want to play for Buck, and that was (by all accounts) and major reason why he asked to be traded when he did. Buck recently ranked as one of the "worst" managers in baseball, in the SI poll of players, which I interpret as less a reflection of his abilities than a reflection of how players feel about playing for him. It was widely reported, right before Buck was fired, that quite a few Rangers didn't want to stay with the team if Buck stuck around.
Now, in contrast, we go from a manager that players don't want to play for, that players want to avoid, to a manager who players want to play for. And I know the arguments, the idea that it is all about the money, that players will go play for whomever pays them the most regardless of who the manager is...but I don't believe that's the case. Players are human. They want to play somewhere they are happy. And if a free agent has an offer from two teams, money being similar, I find it hard to believe that the choice of playing for someone he likes, versus someone he can't stand, isn't going to be a significant factor.
Jan Hubbard reports that the Rangers have entered the bidding process for Daisuke Matsuzaka. We could find out today who the winning bidder is, or we could find out sometime next week. Michael Hindman's report this morning mentions that a New York Newsday reporter indicated that the word in Japan was that Matsuzaka's posting price would likely be lower than the $20-30 million that was initially speculated. That would dovetail with my prediction from last month, and would seem to suggest that Boras has already sent word out about what it will cost to land Matsuzaka. The higher Matsuzaka's salary requirements, of course, the less teams are going to be willing to bid in the posting process.
On the free agent front, the Chicago Tribune is reporting that there is some belief that Carlos Lee would prefer the Cubs over the presumptively favorite Houston Astros, because he likes hitting in Wrigley, and would like to show up the Chicago White Sox, who traded him.
I find it difficult to believe that, if the offers are similar, Lee would go to Chicago rather than Houston. Although that may be wishful thinking on my part, since Houston signing Lee would mean the Rangers getting a better draft choice than they could get from any other team.
On the Barry Bonds front, Jim Reeves rips the idea of adding Bonds, saying that it shouldn't be a baseball decision, but a right-or-wrong decision, and that bringing in Bonds would not help sell tickets or win games.
I think he's wrong on both accounts, of course.
And finally, if you haven't already seen the news, Ruddy Yan is a Baltimore Oriole.
I know at least one LSB reg will be saddened by that news...