Pitchers and catchers report this week, and Evan Grant has a preview up, going over the main projects for this spring.
First on the list for Ron Washington is rebuilding the confidence of the team:
This seems a little ironic, given how purpose and direction-driven Buck was. But the more I hear and read about what has gone on the last four years, the happier I am that the Rangers changed managers (and I was pretty damn happy about it in the first place).
Grant also says that the biggest problem with the Rangers' rotation the past several years hasn't been at the top of the rotation (although the #1-2 slots haven't been anything great) -- it has been from the gascanning that has occurred in the #3-5 slots. Grant says that the first 3 slots in the rotation this year are set, and Robinson Tejeda would have to have an awful spring to lose the #4 starter job. He pegs Josh Rupe as the favorite for the 5th starter slots.
Kat O'Brien reports on the ongoing efforts to improve the Ranger farm system, and looks at where the strengths are currently (pitching and catching, as most of you probably know).
Gil LeBreton has a column on Michael Young and Mark Teixeira, and Ron Washington's belief that this is their team and their clubhouse, whereas in the past, it has been the manager's team and the manager's clubhouse. LeBreton says that, if Jerry Jones believes that folks walked around on eggshells in the Cowboys clubhouse when Bill Parcells was there, in Texas, players were walking on land mines.
Jim Reeves' Postcards from the Ledge column today includes a few Rangers snippets, including this gem comparing Jon Daniels to John Hart:
Ouch. Not the greatest endorsement of the guy that Hicks repeatedly referred to as the smartest man in baseball.
In the New York Post, Joel Sherman includes Akinori Otsuka in his list of players who could be traded. If Eric Gagne is healthy, I expect Otsuka to get dealt...but the question is going to be, does he get dealt in spring training, or do the Rangers wait until later in the season to do a deal?