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Saturday a.m. stuff

Do you guys realize that Opening Day is in 9 days? The season starts soon...

Evan Grant looks at the final roster issues and projects the 25 man roster...he has German, Tejeda and Littleton making the bullpen, Mendoza starting the season in AAA (until he's needed on April 12), Laird and Melhuse catching, and Botts beating out Mench...

I generally agree with all that, although I think there's a chance the Rangers stick German in the minors initially, rather than putting him on the roster to start the season...

Jeff Wilson also projects the 25 man roster, and comes up with the same group as Grant, except he has Kevin Mench making the team over Jason Botts. He explains:

Jason Botts is the safe choice to make the club over Mench because he is out of options, and many in the front office don't want to see him succeed with another club. But Mench, in camp on a minor-league deal, is more of a proven commodity, a better defender and has the support of the manager. However, don't be surprised if Botts wins that spot. It's that close.

This sort of thing makes me want to bang my head against a wall. Mench is a "proven commodity"? Who cares? Who gives a crap about whether a bench guy is a proven commodity or not, in a rebuilding year? Why not take a look at the guy who has crushed AAA pitching for the last three years, but who has never gotten an extended shot in the majors? Given that you are rebuilding, why not use that roster spot on a guy who is out of options but who could be a contributor for the next few years, rather than a one-year journeyman?

This also makes me wonder how good a choice Ron Washington really is to be manager...this seems reminiscent of his strange infatuation with Sammy Sosa and Matt Kata last year, and his apparent championing of Ben Broussard this year. It makes me wonder how good Washington really is at evaluating talent, which is a problem for a rebuilding team. Almost as much of a problem as having a manager who wants to go with the "proven commodity" rather than the unproven player in a rebuilding year...

Jeff Wilson also looks at the expected starting lineup, with Michael Young batting third, and this accompanying comment:

Ron Washington said he wants his best hitter batting third. No surprise that Young's here.

Unfortunately, Young isn't the best hitter on the team...but the perception is still out there that he is, I guess...

Want to know about Kason Gabbard? Both the S-T's spring training report and the DMN's spring training report include Q&As with Gabbard.

T.R. Sullivan has a minor league report up, with some interesting info in there. He says Doug Mathis, A.J. Murray, and Eric Hurley should be in the AAA rotation, with Matt Harrison, Michael Ballard, and Michael Schlact in the AA rotation. Bakersfield is set to have an impressive group, with Omar Poveda, Tommy Hunter, Zach Phillips, and Beau Jones all slated to start the season there, and Kasey Kiker joining the rotation out of extended spring.

Sullivan mentions Hunter has really impressed the Rangers, and there seems to be a sense that Hunter could end up moving really quickly through the system.

Engel Beltre will also be playing full-season ball, per Sullivan, starting the season at Clinton, which should provide a good test for him.