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New Year's Day Stuff

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Well, a move, finally.  The Rangers have signed Derrick Turnbow to a minor league deal. Yippee.

Turnbow is kind of another Jamey Wright, a guy who throws hard, gets ground balls, and has a hard time sustaining success.  He had a great ERA for the Brewers a few years back, although the peripherals didn't support it, and then followed it up with two high ERA seasons where his peripherals weren't as bad as his ERA would suggest.

If he's healthy, he could be an okay middle relief option, I guess, although the Rangers are apparently looking at him as a potential closer, for whatever reason.

I'm guessing that Turnbow will be competing with Willie Eyre for a spot in the Ranger bullpen to start the season. 

T.R. Sullivan, in his article I linked above, suggested that this is a "low-cost, high-reward" move, but I don't think Turnbow has ever been good enough to suggest that the potential reward would be all that high. 

Sullivan says the Rangers almost got something done with Joe Nelson before he signed with the Rays, and that they've been talking to Chad Cordero, Guillermo Mota and Jason Isringhausen, although the addition of Turnbow would seem to make the addition of one of those two less likely.  Among veteran lefties, Sullivan says the Rangers have been looking at Brian Shouse, Dennys Reyes, Will Ohman, and Joe Biemel.

I know the inevitable response from some folks to bringing in a Turnbow or a Mota (or any other guy like this) is, "Why are we doing this?  Why don't we give the kids a chance instead?"

But the thing is...what "kids" would get squeezed out of the bullpen by one of these guys?  Frankie Francisco, C.J. Wilson, and Joaquin Benoit are all pretty much locks to be in the bullpen if they are healthy (and none of them are all that young).  Josh Rupe is likely to be in there.  Dustin Nippert probably has the inside track on a long relief job.

That's five slots.  Who else is there who should be getting a look in the pen?  With Wes Littleton and Kam Loe gone (and the Rangers' reluctance to use either of those guys much last season showed how little regard they had for them), what other young relievers really need to be out there in the major league pen?

Warner Madrigal?  He's only been a pitcher for two years, and probably shouldn't have been up in 2008.  Let him spend a year in the minors.

Guillermo Moscoso?  Maybe, but the Rangers supposedly want to look at him as a starter.

Sullivan also has an article previewing what the Rangers need in 2009, and including a rundown of what the likely lineup and rotation is at this point.