Alan Eskew at the Rangers website looks at the Fabio Castro dilemma, and the issues that the Rangers are going to have in trying to keep him.
He was awful on Thursday, but is going to get a few more outings, and I still tend to believe he'll start the season on the d.l.
Evan Grant, meanwhile, talks about the likelihood of Laynce Nix starting the season in AAA. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, let me say it again...Laynce Nix needs some time in the minors. Having him in the majors as a fourth outfielder isn't going to do him any good. He needs to go to AAA and play everyday.
As Grant points out, if the Rangers go with 12 pitchers (which seems likely), that leaves four bench slots. One will go to Gerald Laird, one will go to Mark DeRosa, one will go to a backup outfielder (presumably GMJ). That leaves one final bench slot, and if the Rangers want to keep Erubiel Durazo to split time at DH with Phil Nevin, that squeezes Nix out.
Another option would be Adrian Brown or D'Angelo Jimenez, both of whom would have some utility as a 25th man, and both of whom would be better suited (from a development standpoint) for that role than Nix, who still isn't ready to play in the field yet after his surgery.
Grant also notes that Frankie Francisco is making progress, but probably won't face a live hitter until after camp breaks, and won't be ready for the majors until late-May, at the very earliest.
Jennifer Floyd Engels has a piece on Buck Showalter, and in particular, the fact that he's going to feel some heat this year if the Rangers repeat 2005:
Among a list of attributes owner Tom Hicks ticked off Thursday in response to a question about what Roger Clemens likes about this Rangers team was this nugget:
"I think he likes the organization," he said nonchalantly, a sign of just how far this team has come in an off-season.
Few people in the Rangers' organization seemed to like the organization when 2005 ended; forget anybody else.
Life in Rangersland had become so dysfunctional by September that rumblings began surfacing that Rangers manager Buck Showalter might be losing the clubhouse. The players were starting to turn on Buck, or so went popular opinion.
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"I think there was some frustration with where we were and guys frustrated for the right reasons," Showalter said. "That is what is frustrating -- when your mentality is ready and maybe all of the parts aren't."
Everybody knew who to blame for that "parts" problem.
Hicks and his "best general manager in baseball" John Hart were popular and sometimes worthy scapegoats. Hicks spent very little; Hart did even less.
Some argued rather vehemently that an empty golf shirt could have done Hart's job and done it better. They were right. Which, of course, is why Hart is gone.
One caveat: so is the crutch.
Say what you will about Hart, but he filled the "Who to blame for the Rangers struggles" role better than any person in recent memory. And with him gone and Hicks again spending a decent amount of money on payroll, Buck officially becomes the man in the dunking booth.
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What is disconcerting is the same stuff that was starting to leak from the Rangers' clubhouse last fall, when the bottom fell out, was fingered as the culprit in Arizona as well.
Word is Diamondbacks players shut Buck out.
A lot of good points made, points that will hopefully be moot this summer...