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Sunday morning things

A whole lot of stuff out there this morning, the day before opening day...

Evan Grant has a good, and lengthy,  piece up in the DMN about the Rangers move into rebuilding mode.  Grant talks about how Thad Levine analyzed all 30 teams to see how different teams chose to try to build...the Rangers have ramped up their investment in amateur talent (Jon Daniels says they are among the top 10 in bonus money paid), and apparently are prepared to significantly increase payroll when they are ready to compete.

There's a lot of detail in there, that I'd recommend checking out...

Tim Cowlishaw predicts a .500 finish for this team.  I think that's realistic.  I may be drinking the Kool-Aid, but I've gone from, at the start of the spring, thinking 74-77 wins, to thinking this team should win 79-82 games.  Coming out of spring training with only one significant injury, and with the front three of the rotation looking healthy, gives me some optimism. 

And realistically, playing a bunch of games against the rest of the A.L. West is going to help your record.  Seattle is a .500 team, Anaheim (without Kelvim Escobar for the year and John Lackey for an unknown amount of time) isn't much better than .500, and the 2008 Oakland A's have moved into Garret Anderson territory...getting overrated as a result of everyone proclaiming that they are being underrated, particularly if Huston Street and Joe Blanton get dealt this summer.

Evan Grant also writes that Ron Washington expects all of his starters to be able to go seven innings when the season starts, with each of them having pitched at least into the sixth inning this spring.  Grant also says that Robinson Tejeda and Nelson Cruz have been told that they will be designated for assignment, while John Rheinecker will go to the 60 day d.l.  However, one more move will have to be made to get everyone necessary on the 25 man roster...

The S-T has a bunch of stuff up as part of their season preview, with a focus on the rebuilding plan...

Jeff Wilson has a Q&A up with Jon Daniels on the rebuilding plan and the young players the Rangers are developing on the farm.

Wilson also provides the S-T's list of the Rangers top 20 prospects

There's a story up on Hank Blalock trying to use the time he was on the d.l. last season to sharpen and improve his mental approach to the game.  There seems to be a lot of talk that Blalock is back this year, that he's going to produce like the guy the Rangers had in 2003 and 2004, rather than the one Texas had in 2005 and 2006.  Getting the early Blalock back would be a huge boost to this offense...

Randy Galloway has a typical rant up, predicting that the Rangers will go 70-92, that Nolan Ryan will fire everyone in the organization, that John Danks is on his way up and Brandon McCarthy is on his way to being an embarrassment...

And most importantly, that there is "no hope for this summer."

The last time there was this sort of doom and gloom about the Rangers was 2004. 

Jim Reeves' column mainly re-hashes past Rangers failures, although when you lament losing Ryan Dempster -- who has basically had one very good season, and otherwise been a mediocrity -- it suggests you might want to do a little more research.

T.R. Sullivan runs down what the Rangers need to do to be serious contenders, although he focuses a little more on runs scored and RBIs and the like than I would think is necessary...