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Wednesday a.m. things

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So, we have still more on the Barry Zito situation...

The Bergen Record suggests that the Mets and Barry Zito are playing poker, with Boras bluffing to try to get more out of the Mets, and the Mets holding firm. They also suggest that the Mets' deal is, if not the highest, at least close to what Zito wants, making it more likely Zito goes to New York.

The New York Post wonders if Barry Zito is really all that, quoting folks who think Zito is slipping, along with an anonymous "insider who knows Zito" who questions whether Zito can handle New York.

The Post also has this:

Privately, people in Texas believe something will take shape with Zito before Christmas, which means the Mets better drive a hard, quick bargain.

And New York Newsday says the Rangers are exploring putting a deadline on their offer, rather than continue to allow this to be dragged out through January.

Getting this resolved quickly would make me happy. I'm tired of the Zito drama.

Newsday also says that the Giants are preparing a bid for Zito, and the Mariners and Angels are also both lurking on the edges, and may end getting involved in the bidding.

Turning to guys who actually are Rangers right now...

Kat O'Brien talks about the Eric Gagne signing, and has some interesting quotes and info:

Said Gagné: "I want to close. I'm a closer. That's what I do.... I have no doubt in my mind that I'll be healthy on the mound."

Gagné is their guy.

"He's performed at a level that really is second to none in the history of the game," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "We're comfortable now that he's put his physical problems behind him."

Gagné, 30, had a 1.79 ERA in 224 appearances and 247 innings between 2002 and 2004, the only three full seasons in which he was a closer. He converted 152 of 158 saves for the Los Angeles Dodgers during that time, including a perfect 55-for-55 in 2003.

Despite that history, which includes a Cy Young Award in 2003, Gagné was viewed as a risk this off-season. He pitched 15 1/3 innings the past two years because of two surgeries to relocate an elbow nerve and back surgery on a herniated disc. After carefully examining Gagné's medical records and putting him through a physical, the Rangers signed him to an incentive-heavy contract, with a $6 million base and $5 million in incentives based on the number of games finished.

Gagné said he sought two primary characteristics in a team to sign with -- a strong chance of making the playoffs and a willingness to give him the closer's job. Although the Rangers have not made the playoffs since 1999, Gagné said he is convinced they are ready to win now.

This supports what I suggested yesterday...that part of the deal with Gagne coming here was that he'd be the closer, not a setup guy for Otsuka.

Evan Grant writes on Gagne idolizing John Wetteland when he was growing up...

Marc Normandin from BTB is doing a chat session at BP at noon today...make sure you send him some Rangers questions...