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Well, we finally had a little move, signing Jerry Hairston, Jr., to a minor league deal...

I like this deal, for the reasons that Evan Grant explains:

Hairston becomes the leading candidate to become the team's backup infielder. He will compete with prospect Joaquin Arias, fading former first-round pick Drew Meyer and journeymen Ramon Vazquez and Matt Kata. Hairston also could give the Rangers an option as a backup center fielder behind Kenny Lofton.

The versatility of Hairston may allow the Rangers to keep another player viewed strictly as a hitter, either Jason Botts or Victor Diaz. With the likelihood being that the Rangers will carry seven relievers, their bench probably will be limited to four players. One will be a backup catcher; Hairston has the inside track for a second spot.

The final two spots will be outfielders. Marlon Byrd, Freddy Guzman, Botts and Diaz are contenders for that spot. Botts or Diaz could also be the right-handed DH against left-handed pitchers if the Rangers don't find another bat.

The Rangers need a backup infielder, although that guy isn't going to get much playing time. If the backup infielder is someone like Hairston, who can play centerfield as well, that makes it that much more likely Jason Botts will stick around.

Evan Grant explains why he won't be voting for Mark McGwire for the Hall, and along with the steroids argument, brings up the "one-dimensional" argument (that McGwire just hit homers).

Joe Sheehan has an article responding to the "one-dimensional" complaint against McGwire, pointing out that Tony Gwynn -- who is also on the ballot for the first time, and who will almost surely be elected -- is at least as "one-dimensional" as McGwire.

T.R. Sullivan has a good blog entry giving the exact details of the Eric Gagne contract incentives.

Over at Beyond the Box Score, John Barten has a profile of Ranger prospect Taylor Teagarden.

And if you haven't already seen, The Newberg Report is going to be hosting a chat session with Star-Telegram Ranger beat writer Kat O'Brien at 4 p.m. on Monday, January 8. If you want to participate, go to The Newberg Report Monday a little before 4 p.m. and click on the chat room link.