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Thursday a.m. stuff

Make that 20 out of 22, now...the BoSox looked pretty good last night, and didn't seem to overwhelmed by the magical Colorado streak.

Eric Gagne has turned into a bit player for Boston, which wasn't at all what they were expecting when they made the deal to land Gagne at the trade deadline. But Evan Grant says we shouldn't be surprised if Gagne ends up back in a Rangers uniform in 2008.

And I'd be down with that. Short-term, high-beta signing, much like signing him last offseason. Are there areas of greater need on the team than the bullpen? Absolutely. But is there anyone Eric Gagne-like -- huge upside, available for a short-term commitment with incentives -- who would fit in, say, right field? No.

Now, maybe he isn't quite Dr. Zhivago, after all. But the Eric Gagne who pitched for the Rangers this season has a lot of value, and I'd love to have that Eric Gagne back.

In a chat session last night (that also included some Texas Rangers and Torii Hunter talk), Nate Silver touched on this issue:

dan (SoFla): Dave Cameron says Bartolo Colon is his hidden FA pitcher gem. Thoughts on Colon and/or your own FA bargain?

Nate Silver: I think "broken" pitchers like Colon, Dontrelle Willis and Eric Gagne are definitely where the bargains in this free agent class lie.

I've been sneering at the idea of adding a Colon or a Jason Jennings...but really, the more I think about it, the more it seems to make some sense. Get a guy on a one year deal with incentives and a high-dollar vesting option. Hell, it isn't like the Rangers can't afford it...even if they sign Torii Hunter, they probably have more money to spend this offseason than good things to spend it on.

You bring in a Colon or a Jennings or a Freddy Garcia this spring, stick him in the rotation, and let Kason Gabbard or Edinson Volquez go into the bullpen if the rehab project is healthy. It isn't as if a rotation of Millwood, Padilla, Broken Pitcher, McCarthy, and Gabbard/Volquez is likely to go the whole season with needing a replacement anyway.

If you hit with one of these guys, and they help you win quicker, great. If you hit with one of these guys, and you aren't in the playoff race, but you can trade them for another Engel Beltre and David Murphy, great. If you miss, well, you aren't stuck with a long-term commitment.

Randy Galloway talks about the coaching situation, and gives it a "Rangers are cheap" spin, even though that doesn't necessarily appear to be the case:

One respected coach, Don Wakamatsu, walked out of Arlington this week after he received a two-year contract, based on what I'm told was a raise over what he earned here. And it was the Oakland A's, one of the cheapest teams in the game, who lured him away.

Wakamatsu was a clubhouse favorite with the players, tireless worker and he had the smarts to tutor in about every area of the game.

Out of fairness to Daniels, he disputes any notion the Rangers didn't do everything financially to keep Wakamatsu, but what they couldn't give him was his desire to move back into the dugout as a bench coach, instead of being the third-base coach here again. if the Rangers did everything they could financially to keep Wakamatsu here, then why does Galloway imply, in the first paragraph, that Wakamatsu left because the Rangers are even cheaper than the A's?

Then, of course, we move on to Rudy, and Galloway hammered John Hart over the Jaramillo negotiations in the 2004-05 offseason. Galloway does, however, spell out the stickiness of this situation pretty well, I think:

Rudy has signed three-year contracts here the past two times there have been negotiations. At the moment, Daniels is limiting his offer to a two-year deal because he doesn't want a coach's contract to extend beyond the contract of manager Ron Washington.

Meanwhile, Rudy's agent has dropped a hammer on Daniels, asking for five years, $5 million in opening the negotiations. The Rangers have countered with two years for just under $1 million.

Rudy's agent won't get close to what he's asking, but obviously he wants his client to be in the $550,000-a-year range or even higher. Daniels' headache is he's paying his manager only $500,000, maybe the lowest salary for a manager in the majors.

Can a coach make more than the manager, or should Jaramillo be held back because Washington had no financial leverage when he was picked a year ago for the job?

I think the Rangers' concerns are legitimate. That said, if Jaramillo is the miracle worker that some suggest he is, then 5 years, $5 million seems to be a pittance.