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An almost-final payroll situation update

With Zito now off the board, time to do a look at what should be just about the last update of the roster and payroll situation...

The following players are under contract for 2007:

Kevin Millwood -- $9.45 million (prorating deferred signing bonus and discounting deferral)

Mark Teixeira -- $9.4 million

Vicente Padilla -- $9 million

Kenny Lofton -- $6 million

Eric Gagne -- $6 million (plus possible incentives)

Hank Blalock -- $4.75 million

Frank Catalanotto -- $3.5 million

Michael Young -- $3.5 million

Ron Mahay -- $1.25 million

Marlon Byrd -- $750,000 (estimate)

Miguel Ojeda -- $450,000

That's $54.05 million. Add in the $7 million or so for ARod, and the team is at around $61.05 million.

The Rangers have two significant arbitration-eligible players...Brad Wilkerson and Akinori Otsuka. The Rangers are looking at about $4.5 million for Wilkerson and $3.5 million for Otsuka.

The Rangers have also indicated offered arbitration to Rick Bauer and Joaquin Benoit. I'd estimate that those two would come in at about $1.25 million apiece, although I expect one of those two to be dealt this spring.

That gets the payroll to $70.3 million, if either Benoit or Bauer gets moved.

The starting catcher, right fielder and second baseman are going to be Laird, Cruz and Kinsler, and those three are looking at about $400K apiece.

You are going to have at least 3 more bullpen guys to go with Otsuka, Benoit/Bauer, Gagne and Mahay. My guess is that they will go with Wilson, Littleton, and Francisco in the pen. Those three will come in at about $1.5 million, combined. Brandon McCarthy and Robinson Tejeda each seem slotted in rotation slots, at about $400K. The Rangers seem committed to going with a fifth starter from within the organization -- Josh Rupe or Kam Loe would be my guess.

That gets the payroll to about $74.2 million, with a backup infielder and another positional player still needed.

With Marlon Byrd in the fold, I think Jason Botts will be the "another positional player," getting about 300 ABs at DH, although the Rangers are supposedly still looking at adding a righthanded bat. Craig Wilson is the name that jumps out at me, of the guys still out there.

With the Rangers out of the running for Zito, they may also be willing to spend a little more on a utility infielder. Not sure who is out there at this point, though. They could also conceivably splurge on a more expensive backup catcher option than Ojeda.

Anyway, let's assume the Rangers spend $2 million on those two slots, combined.

That gets payroll to $76.2 million, for a team that looks like this:

Cat DH
Lofton CF
Young SS
Teixeira 1B
Wilkerson LF
Kinsler 2B
Blalock 3B
Cruz RF
Laird C






Botts/C. Wilson
Mystery infielder