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Late afternoon linkaliciousness

Having just typed that in the title, I think I need to use variations of the word "linkalicious" a lot more...

Evan Grant has a piece at NBC Sports on the lack of black managers in MLB, and the path Ron Washington and Willie Randolph went through to get their positions...

Grant is also doing a spring training oriented newsletter next week, so if you have any questions about the Rangers upcoming spring training, click here to send them on.

T.R. Sullivan looks at the Ranger bullpen situation, and includes some optimistic quotes from Jon Daniels:

"We have a combination of quality and depth," general manager Jon Daniels said. "We have experience at the back end, and youth and power arms coming up in front of them. Going into Spring Training, we have more guys who deserve to be on the team than we do spots, so we've got some tough calls to make.

"But if Eric and Francisco are as healthy as we think they're going to be, then we have a chance to have a bullpen that is a competitive advantage."

Sullivan suggests that four of the seven bullpen slots are already pretty well locked in, with Eric Gagne and Akinori Otsuka to close and be the primary setup man, respectively, and C.J. Wilson and Ron Mahay taking the two lefty slots.

Sullivan then offers six candidates -- Wes Littleton, Scott Feldman, Rick Bauer, Joaquin Benoit, Josh Rupe, and Kam Loe -- for the three remaining slots, plus makes mention of Edinson Volquez and NRIs Mike Wood, Franklyn German, and Willie Eyre.

That's 10 pitchers for three slots, without even counting Frankie Francisco and Francisco Cruceta, who are also viable candidates, or John Rheinecker and John Koronka, potential lefty relievers.

I expect to see the Rangers deal a couple of relievers in late March. There are simply too many quality guys for the spots available, but the team should be poised to flip a couple of these guys for a decent prospect or two, or even package, say, Otsuka and Mahay for an outfielder if the various and sundry possibilities for the LF/RF/DH slot don't end up panning out.

And finally, BP has a transcript of Maury Brown's chat session up. Worth checking out, for Ranger fans, if only to see his comment on Alex Rodriguez's contract possibilities if he opts out of his deal after 2007 (and let's keep our fingers crossed there)...