Another quiet day out there...
Kat O'Brien weighs in on the deals this offseason that she thinks are good, bad, and "under the radar"...
Jim Reeves says the Ranger offense in 2007 will depend on "major production" from Mark Teixeira and Hank Blalock, and "rapid improvement" from Nelson Cruz and Brad Wilkerson.
Not sure why Wilkerson is in the "improvement" pile, while Blalock is in the "production" group...they both were awful last season, although Wilkerson, at least, has the shoulder injury to blame.
I will say, though, that I think the Ranger season is going to rise or fall on four guys:
If those four perform at the upper level of their capabilities, this is a playoff team, and a team that can do some damage in the playoffs.
If they perform at the lower level of their capabilities, the Rangers are going to have to have a lot of other things go right to finish above .500.
T.R. Sullivan blogs on Akinori Otsuka's comments to a Japanese reporter this past week, his first since the Rangers signed Eric Gagne and announced Gagne would be the closer.
There is a lot that can be lost in translation, of course, but Sullivan's report seems to indicate that Otsuka will ask to be traded if he isn't the closer at the end of spring training.
As I've said before, I'm fine with dealing Otsuka in the right deal, and I think that Daniels is comfortable going into spring training, seeing how the team sets up, and making a deal on the eve of Opening Day, should he decide he needs another bat, or should he feel he can get quality prospects for Otsuka without decimating the Ranger pen.
tangotiger has a nice analysis of Barry Zito, and why DIPS doesn't work with him, which includes a tip of the hat to my Zito BIP breakdown a little while back...
Phil Rogers takes a look at A.L. playoff contenders, and includes the Rangers in there, although he says the Rangers have two holes in their rotation (he isn't counting Robinson Tejeda, I assume). He also talks about Hank Blalock, although a lot of that material appears cribbed from the piece Evan Grant did on Blalock.