Some linkaliciousness, about 40 hours before First Pitch...
Jeff Sullivan takes a look at the Rangers, and although I disagree with his critique of the defense -- he has Michael Young and Chris Davis in the negative column, which would be accurate if they were at SS and 3B, but is probably not true for their current positions -- I think he has a reasonable overall take. And you have to like this:
Status: Developing nuclear stockpile
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Anyway, here's what matters:
(A) Texas, right now, is likely the worst team in the division by a few games
(B) they're going to give up a lot of runs
(C) there's enough upside in the batting order to potentially keep the team afloat longer than you'd think
(D) the Rangers are about to get scary
Texas probably has the best farm system in baseball, and we're going to see those players start to arrive in 2009. So while the team is bad with a shot at mediocre right now, you should enjoy their struggles while you can, because they aren't going to last that much longer.
And don't use this as an excuse to go over there and be insulting and start a flame-war. Seriously. Making the LSB community look bad on other boards is a bad thing.
Evan Grant predicts the Rangers' performance on a month-by-month basis, ending up with an 84-78 record and a 2nd place finish in the West.
Grant also writes that, despite past policy being that contract negotiations end if they aren't done by Opening Day, that policy may not end up applying to Josh Hamilton. It sounds like there are things quietly going on behind the scenes on that front.
Dave Cameron talks about the service time manipulation that is going on with Matt Weiters and David Price, and that has been discussed here ad nauseum vis-a-vis Elvis Andrus.
Jason Hammel, the D-Rays out of options pitcher who has been discussed as a possible Ranger trade target, is apparently close to going to Colorado. Ringolsby says that a hold-up is that the Rockies don't want to add Hammel until after Wednesday's game, which Franklin Morales will start, and after which will be optioned to AAA, while the Rays have to do something with him before Opening Day. But the Rays can simply designate Hammel for assignment tomorrow, then trade him to the Rockies on Thursday, so I don't see that that should really be a problem.
Carlos Zambrano wins this week's tone-deafness award by saying that Chicago should get rid of Wrigley Field and build the Cubs a nice new stadium.
Jon Heyman has 30 breakout candidates for 2009. None of them are Rangers.
Peter Gammons has 15 players who talent evaluators think are on the verge of a breakout season, and Chris Davis makes the list. Derek Holland also places third on the list of the best young arms seen this spring.
Are you a college student who loves baseball and wants to be an intern doing something baseball-related? Here's your chance.