A relatively quiet Sunday on the news front, as far as Rangers news goes...
Jim Reeves takes Jon Daniels to task for not doing enough to upgrade the rotation this offseason:
"What starting pitchers have gone off the board that we should have been in on?" Daniels asked me a week ago, before leaving for Florida. At the time, it was a good question.
A week later, I have an answer: Jason Schmidt (signed by Dodgers), Andy Pettitte (signed by Yankees), Ted Lilly (signed by Cubs), Freddy Garcia (traded to Phillies), Adam Eaton (signed by Phillies) and Kip Wells (signed by Cardinals).
Really? The only one of those guys I would have wanted the Rangers to sign or trade for, given the cost, was Pettitte. And I don't think Pettitte had any interest in pitching for anyone besides the Astros or Yanks.
Is Reeves really suggesting the Rangers should have gone 3 years, $24 million for Adam Eaton? Or 4 years, $40 million for Ted Lilly? The Rangers should have traded Edinson Volquez and John Danks for one year of Freddy Garcia (who is a free agent after 2007)?
Reeves also has this dig at the roster construction:
Hindsight says the Rangers mishandled their roster by allowing nine players to become free agents in the same year. It may have sounded like flexibility and a way to stock up on draft choices, but their inability to successfully be a major player in an inflated market is seriously challenging their ability to be competitive in 2007.
Things can still change. I wish I believed they would.
Nine players became free agents:
Gary Matthews, Jr.
Jerry Hairston, Jr.
Lee, Wells, Young and JHJ were all brought in during the season with the understanding that they would be gone after 2006.
Barajas, the Rangers weren't interested in bringing back.
DeRosa, the Rangers replaced with the Cat.
The Rangers brought Padilla back.
So, as best I can tell, Reeves is complaining that GMJ and Eaton weren't locked up before the 2006 season.
Of course, GMJ went into the season as a 4th outfielder, and the Rangers engaged in contract discussions with Eaton that didn't go anywhere.
If you want to bitch about trading for Eaton, that's fine. I hated that trade, too.
But to complain that the Rangers didn't manage their roster properly, because they had all these free agents at once, is asinine, and I'm disappointed in Reeves for making that argument.
Also in the S-T today, Kat O'Brien says the Rangers are finalists for Eric Gagne, but there's not much news other than that.
T.R. Sullivan has a quote from an anonymous Ranger source that says the Rangers aren't close on Eric Gagne. Sullivan also says that the Rangers are talking to Ryan Drese about coming back...I guess now that Rod Barajas is gone, it is safe for Drese to return...
Ken Davidoff reports that there are some who think that Barry Zito won't land in Texas, because spending the next 4-5-6 years there will drive down his value for his next contract.
The Jason Jennings situation is getting interesting. Jennings is apparently upset after the Rockies owner called him out, claiming Jennings was hiding behind his agent and refusing to negotiate with the team.
The Denver Post lists the Rangers and the Astros as the teams most interested in trading for Jennings, and Andy Pettitte's defection to the Yanks almost certainly has driven up the price of Jennings, in terms of prospects to be parted with, since the Astros desperately need pitching (their rotation right now may be worse than the Rangers') and have spent big on Carlos Lee in order to try to win now.
The Philadelphia Inquirer says that the Rangers are one of the teams interested in Jon Lieber, whom the Phillies are using as trade bait in their search for relief help. I have to think that, if the Phillies are looking at the Rangers, they are going to want Akinori Otsuka for Lieber, and I have to think the Rangers would want something more than Lieber back for Otsuka.
Negotiations between the BoSox and Daisuke Matsuzaka are reportedly falling apart, with reports indicating that an agreement is unlikely by Thursday's deadline.
That would, no doubt, result in Scott Boras either filing a lawsuit or claiming that Boston didn't bid in good faith, in an effort to widen the pool of possible suitors for Matsuzaka.
The report indicates that a deal would have to be in place by Tuesday, so that Matsuzaka could come to Boston on Wednesday for his physical before time runs out on Thursday.
This should be a fascinating little drama...maybe a deal will be struck at the 11th hour, but I'd personally find it more entertaining if Boston didn't sign Matsuzaka.
Finally, I'm sitting here blogging, with the Sports Reporters on, and Mitch Albom just said that Reggie Bush has exceeded expectations with the Saints.
Reggie Bush is exceeding expectations? Mitch Albom needs to just give up on sports altogether, and stick to writing treacly books that people buy as Christmas gifts...