Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Rangers are close to signing Kenny Lofton on a one year deal.
Just for grins...
Kenny Lofton in 2006: .301/.360/.403, .278 EQA
GMJ in 2006: .313/.371/.495, .295 EQA
GMJ has a huge advantage in power, but Lofton was 32 for 37 in steals last year, while GMJ was 10 for 17.
I don't expect either player to match what they did in 2006, but I expect Lofton to come closer to matching his 2006 numbers than GMJ does to matching his 2006 numbers.
Rosenthal mentions concerns about Lofton's defensive abilities.
For those interested, BP graded both Lofton and GMJ as well below average defensively last year, the Probabilistic Range Model has GMJ as slightly below average and Lofton as well below average, and the Fielding Bible puts Lofton as about average in 2003-05, with GMJ slightly above average in that time.
Bottom line...I think Lofton and GMJ are probably similar defensive players, and replacing GMJ with Lofton won't make much difference defensively, although, because so many people seem to be convinced GMJ was great defensively in 2006, it will probably be perceived as a drop-off.
In any case, I'm find with the Rangers using a mix of Cruz, Lofton, Wilkerson, Cat, Botts, and Guzman in the OF/DH slots for the first couple of months, and seeing who can play and who can't.
Update [2006-12-10 22:21:58 by Adam J. Morris]: -- In response to a comment in the Lofton diary, I don't think this impacts Brad Wilkerson. I'd be shocked if the Rangers non-tendered him. He'll get about $4.5 million on a one-year deal, which is not unreasonable, and fills a need.
If Wilkerson is non-tendered, you are talking about going with an outfield of Cat, Lofton and Cruz, with Botts as your DH, and Guzman as your 4th outfielder, and maybe Victor Diaz splitting time with Cat. I don't see that happening.
Update [2006-12-10 23:46:44 by Adam J. Morris]: -- A.P. has a similar item out, saying that "a person familiar with the negotiations said Sunday the sides are getting close."