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Some things out there to check out and think about...

Want to see someone who has something good to say about the Rangers?  Check out Dave Cameron's "things I believe about 2008" post, which predicts that there will be talk about the "surprising" Texas Rangers this summer.

Dave Cameron and Joe Sheehan agree on very few things.  But this may be one of them, as Sheehan is somewhat positive about the Rangers in his A.L. preview today:

Texas Rangers (80-82, 840 RS, 849 RA). I’m a bit surprised at how good the Rangers look, but it's a function of the outfield upgrades over the offseason on top of the potential for one healthy season from Hank Blalock. If I had to pick a surprise team in the AL, it would be this one; the Rangers could get a combined 70 decent starts from Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, and terrific bargain pickup Jason Jennings to make a run at the postseason. With so many injury cases on the roster, the Rangers could win anywhere from 69 to 92 games, depending on DL days.

Sheehan's W/L prediction is identical to mine, but he also echoes something I've mentioned before...this could be a 90 win team or a 90 loss team, depending on health.  If Brandon McCarthy is the only significant injury the Rangers have, they should make a run at the Angels.

The Prospectus Hit List?  Not so optimistic...

Sheehan also has a chat session up, in which he says that he agrees with the decision to start Laird and send Saltalamacchia down, in part because of Laird's defense.

On Laird's defense...everyone knows he has a gun behind the plate, but did you know he was also in the upper quarter of the league last year in runs saved (per 120 games) on blocking balls in the dirt?  And even better if you look from 2005-2007?   Let's have some love for OMFT...

Lookout Landing has a series preview up for M's/Rangers, and they hate on our might triumvirate of Millwood, Padilla and Jennings...

FJM is pissed off because some crotchety old man thinks Opening Day shouldn't take place in Japan because the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.  A lot of people seem irritated that Opening Day was overseas, saying it should be in America because of tradition and yada yada yada.  Me, I don't care.

I enjoyed this, if only because they surprised me with some of the book references.  And you know, maybe we'll steal that bit from KSK, and do our own mock drafts about non-sports-related things over here come August, if the Rangers are out of the race.

Nick Masset did make the ChiSox.  That elicited a passionate reaction at South Side Sox. 

Keith Law has some praise for Tommy Hunter, saying he could be in the Rangers' pen by 2009. 

BA breaks down the Nippert trade.  Their conclusion?

If Nippert can approach his previous form, this deal will be a steal for the Rangers. If not, it was still a low-cost gamble worth taking.

 And some geeks with slide rules simulate all of baseball history 10,000 times, looking to see how unlikely it is that anyone would have a 56 game hitting streak...and determine that it really isn't that unlikely at all...