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T.R. Sullivan on Ranger free agents

Some interesting items from T.R. Sullivan's blog:

The Rangers have ten players who can be free agents in the off-season and word is Mark DeRosa may be the first and most important to be re-signed because he can play multiple positions. If the Rangers sign DeRosa early, it gives them a variety of ways to improve the club. They could trade Hank Blalock if they can get pitching in return or they could keep DeRosa in the outfield and spend that money on pitching.

The Rangers want Vicente Padilla back. Both he and Adam Eaton will likely be offered arbitration as free agents. So too will DeRosa, catcher Rod Barajas and outfielders Gary Matthews Jr. and Carlos Lee.

If the Rangers don't sign them any of them, they could get somewhere between 6-12 draft picks as compensation. But there is also the possibility of that compensation could be done away with in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement

Club officials have made it clear that they are prepared to keep Brad Wilkerson and tender him a contract in December despite his poor season. Rangers still feel he is a much better player than this.

Prioritizing DeRosa and offering arbitration to Barajas are problematic to me...particularly if Buck is back next year, the idea of getting stuck with Barajas for another season at $4-5 million, and having Gerald Laird spend another season as the Barajas backup, is frightening.

That said, I'm encouraged about the Rangers being committed to bringing Wilkerson back, and about them wanting to re-sign Padilla.

Having Millwood and Padilla at the front of the rotation for 2007 would make me a lot more comfortable about next year than, say, having Adam Eaton or Ted Lilly behind Millwood.