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Wednesday a.m. things

Bah. Ugly game last night. Crappy way to lose.

On the neverending topic of Buck...we finally have someone going on the record and saying that Buck Showalter should definitely stay. Jim Reeves makes the case for Buck today, offering a spirited defense of the manager who is under fire. In a nutshell, his argument is that the owner and g.m.s haven't given Buck a team that can win, so it isn't right to blame Buck for not winning.

Jan Hubbard has a piece on the catching situation, although it is again the frustrating regurgitation of how lucky the Rangers are to have two good catchers, and how much they'd like to have both players back.

Here's what I don't get, though:

The Rangers would like to keep both players, but if they play in spring training the way they have this season, Laird will likely win the job. Barajas would probably not be happy as a backup, and the Rangers would not want to pay the higher salary to the backup.

Laird "will likely" win the starting job, IF he plays in spring, 2007, like he has this year, and IF Barajas plays like he has this year?

Good grief. What the hell more does Gerald Laird need to do to show that he deserves to be the starting catcher?

Kat O'Brien talks about the futures of Ron Mahay and Joaquin Benoit with the Rangers. Mahay has a $1.1 million option for 2007, or a $250,000 buyout, and it isn't known whether the Rangers will exercise the option.

Given the demand out there for lefty relievers, I have to think the Rangers will exercise the option. At $850,000 (the difference between the option and the buyout), he's a cheap insurance policy, and they could probably flip him in the spring if they decided to go with, say, C.J. Wilson and John Rheinecker in the pen.

Benoit has frustrated the organization for years, now, and is arbitration eligible. He's likely looking at a salary of around $1.5 million if the Rangers went to arbitration with him, and I have to wonder if, given the number of good young arms they have hanging around, the team would rather try to foist him on some other team and get an Enrique Cruz or some such fringey prospect for him and use the $1.5 million elsewhere.

The Orange County Register has an article on Arte Moreno being willing to dive into the free agent market this offseason, and lists Carlos Lee as a possibility.

Of more interest to me, though, is this...

Boston almost certainly will make Manny Ramirez available, and the Angels just as certainly will be a rumored destination.

I'm not sure what the cost would be, but if Boston makes Manny available, I would hope the Rangers would be in the mix. I'd be very happy to see him hitting cleanup for the Rangers behind Mike Young and Mark Teixeira next season.

Along with Lee, the L.A. Daily News mentions GMJ as a possible Anaheim free agent target, which would allow them to put Chone Figgins into the utility role he's better suited to (in case no one has noticed, Chone had a pretty mediocre season this year, playing full time).

Richard Justice talks about the Astros acquiring Carlos Lee, and the attractiveness of pairing him with Luke Scott in the corner outfield slots. No one has noticed, but Luke Scott has had a real, real nice season.

Evan Grant reports that the Rangers "appear to be moving forward with plans to pursue pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka." Matsuzaka would be very expensive, but is probably one of the three best starting pitchers out there on the market this offseason. This is definitely a story to watch this offseason.