Well, I'm back...and I gotta say, I'm tired of the Rockies and their magical journey to the World Series. Although really, there wasn't a team in the National League playoffs I particularly wanted to see advance. I would have rooted for the Mets or the Padres, if they'd made it, I guess...the rest of the teams, though...bleah...
Some procedural moves announced yesterday regarding the 40 man...Chris Stewart and Kevin Mahar have cleared waivers and been outrighted, Willie Eyre has cleared waivers and signed a minor league deal for 2008 with the Rangers, and Mike Wood has cleared waivers and elected to become a free agent. Joaquin Arias, Josh Rupe, and Akinori Otsuka are off the 60 day d.l. and back on the 40 man roster. The 40 man is now sitting at exactly 40.
The decision to give Eyre a minor league deal for 2008 is interesting, since Eyre will basically be spending the year rehabbing from T-J surgery. But my guess is that the Rangers liked what they saw from Eyre enough to keep him around, and having him on a minor league deal means that they can add him to the 40 man roster at the end of the 2008 season if they feel he's back, which allows Eyre to remain an option for the 2009 season.
Keith Law had a couple of Rangers items in his chat last night, predicting Torii Hunter will sign with the Rangers, and saying that Gerald Laird's trade value, given the dearth of catching out there right now, is "probably enough to get a solid non-star prospect." I'd be interesting to hear him expand on what type of prospect he'd consider a solid non-star prospect, if that's more of a Max Ramirez level or more of a Zach Phillips or Brandon Boggs level prospect.
Jim Reeves is beating the Joe Torre to Texas drum, although more, it appears to me, as a mechanism for bitching about Tom Hicks' spending habits than because he really wants Torre in Texas:
Like seven million bucks is the quick answer, because that's what George Steinbrenner paid Joe to manage the Yankees this past season.
Anybody who believes Tom Hicks is going to pay his manager that much, honk your horn... that's what I thought... awfully quiet out there.
Okay, I complain about Hicks' and payroll as much as anyone.
Seriously. I think if Jon Daniels came to Hicks and said, here's a unique opportunity, we can get a manager who will add 5 wins a year and give the franchise instant credibility, I think Hicks would pay $7 million per year.
Hell, he gave Daniels the okay to bid $27 million for the right to talk to Daisuke Matsuzaka, to pay Vicente Padilla $34 million over 3 years, and to sign Eric Gagne and Kenny Lofton for that sort of money this past offseason.
Given that there's not a whole lot of attractive options out there in the way of players to spend money on, do you really think Hicks would balk if Daniels went to him and could justify the move?
Now, that being said...I don't imagine Daniels has gone to Hicks and asked him to do that, and I'm guessing that is in large part because Daniels doesn't think Torre is worth $7 million per year for the Rangers.
And for those who have been agitating that the Rangers should go get Joe Torre if he becomes available...let's think about this for a moment...
Torre's track record in New York is that he's been extremely successful in managing egos and dealing with his superstars. He's shown a pretty extreme tendency to stick with veterans and guys he knows, and he burns out his bullpen every year by riding whomever is pitching well in a setup role in April and May into the ground. He's had to do no rebuilding, and very little in the way of evaluating young players and integrating them into a team.
And before he came to the Yankees, he had a pretty lengthy track record of mediocrity. He had a .529 winning percentage in 486 games in Atlanta, a .498 record in 706 games in St. Louis, and a .405 record in 709 games with the Mets. That's 1901 games of bleahness.
Now, are we to believe that something changed once Torre got to New York, and he became a great manager, after he wasn't good before?
Or are we to believe that he was a great manager with the Mets, Braves and Cards, and just had bad situations there (in a total of almost 12 seasons of managing)?
Or is it that maybe, just maybe, Torre isn't that great a manager when his job isn't overseeing a collection of all stars?