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Wednesday morning things

Nice, if largely meaningless, win last night for the Rangers. Personally, I'd prefer to be seeing more Gerald Laird and more Nelson Cruz the rest of the way, but at this point, it doesn't look like that's going to happen.

Thanks to Excel Hearts Choi for pointing out this item, which says that there will be no more draft pick compensation for free agents. It isn't confirmed, but if this is true, it is really going to suck for the Rangers, who were poised to snag quite a few extra picks in the 2007 draft.

And if there's no draft pick compensation, and no Scott Boras to contend with, Carlos Lee will no doubt be looking more and more attractive to other teams. Peter Schmuck says that the Orioles need to be going hard after Lee, and this morning, I heard Houston Chronicle columnist Richard Justice say that he thought the Astros were going to sign Lee this offseason.

And speaking of the Astros, they just signed Roy Oswalt to a 5 year, $73 million extension. Oswalt would have been a free agent after the 2007 season, but instead, he's locked up with Houston. And not surprisingly, Oswalt sought (and received) a no-trade clause...Oswalt was supposedly bent out of shape over his name appearing in trade rumors back in July, and had said he was going to test the free agent market.

Oswalt is a terrific pitcher, but it is hard to imagine that he would have been offered more than this had he gone to free agency after 2007. He made $11 million in 2006, so he was probably looking at about $13 million in arbitration in 2007, meaning that the Astros bought out four free agency years at $15 million per. There's no hometown discount there...

Evan Grant's latest DMN news letter is out...there is some stuff on the Buck problem, the free agent pitchers on the market after this season, and why the Rangers have struggled developing pitchers.

Evan Grant says Hank Blalock is having a solid second half, having overcome the earlier word that he was going to start sitting more against lefties, and the news that he had been offered up in a potential three-way deal with the Orioles to get Roy Oswalt.

Kip Wells and Eric Hurley are both apparently done for the year. Wells is having season-ending foot surgery, while Hurley is likely going to be shut down because of the oblique strain he suffered earlier this month.

Jon Daniels is indicating that the Rangers would be interested in bringing Wells back, although I'd have to imagine that's more of a fallback plan than Plan A.