The quintessential Tom Hicks-is-a-failure rant, courtesy of Adam J. Morris:
● Faced with an 11:00 p.m. CST deadline by which they were required to offer salary arbitration to their arbitration-eligible free agents, the Texas Rangers have extended arbitration offers to free agent outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher Ivan Rodriguez (Richard Durrett, ESPNDallas.com)
[As we originally explained back on Sept. 30th, the Byrd arbitration "decision" was actually a foregone conclusion for quite some time; in fact, the only real question was whether Pudge, the epitome of a borderline case, would receive similar treatment, and the fact that he did now means that Texas will recoup a supplemental-round draft pick in the 2010 amateur draft if he should decline the Rangers' offer before next Monday's 11:00 p.m. CST deadline. My baseless suspicion is that he'll take it ... and even if he's down value-wise from where he was a few short years ago, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
"But Joey," you exclaim, "Pudge is old and he can't hit and would interfere with the development of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden!" All of those claims are true to some extent, but I get the sense that the Rangers are hesitant to roll into spring training without some sort of hedge against the very real possibility of more things going wrong behind the plate (e.g. Saltalamacchia experiencing a Hank Blalock-esque setback after TOS surgery and/or Teagarden continuing to helplessly flail), and Rodriguez, a true-talent .300 wOBA hitter with still-quality defense, is somewhat useful in that regard.]
● Baltimore recently inquired into the availability of right-hander Kevin Millwood, although the talks are not believed to be serious; while one source clarified that the Rangers' motivation in trading Millwood would stem from wanting to clear payroll in order to sign free agent outfielder Jermaine Dye, another source disclosed that the ballclub didn't view a Millwood-for-Dye swap as "sensible" (Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi, FOXSports.com)
[Source No. 1 may or may not have indulged in a few choice spirits before volunteering to act as an all-too-convenient anonymous source. This really doesn't make much sense to me at all -- unless this is part of a grand scheme to leverage the cost savings from the Millwood-to-Dye talent downgrade into a rotation-bolstering trade or signing (Ben Sheets?), there's really not much point in going to all of this trouble.
Two things which I neglected to mention in our expansive November 6th overview of Dye: (a) he was one of the biggest second-half disasters in baseball last season, hitting a meager .179/.293/.297 at a major power-producing position down the stretch and helping knock the White Sox out of the pennant race, which has (b) ignited whispers that his body is finally falling apart at the age of 35. Big concerns.]
● The Rangers possess interest in free agent southpaw Darren Oliver and "could" be interested in Dye and free agent right-hander Octavio Dotel (T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com)
[Oliver was not offered arbitration by the Angels, so the logical expectation is that the Rangers will remain linked to him throughout his brief period of unemployment ... and so will about 15 other teams. Left-handed relief specialists always seem to attract an inordinate number of "interested teams," since teams are always looking for good left-handed pitching and even lower-payroll teams can generally get involved with middle-tier relievers. Dotel? Overpriced.]
● According to one baseball source, free agent shortstop Bobby Crosby "might be" on the Rangers' list of possibilities (T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com)
[Potential is overrated anyway, right? If you squint your eyes and kinda cock your head to one side, you can see Mark DeRosa as a best-case comp for Crosby going forward (this based upon their versatility and comparable career numbers going into their age-30 seasons, the point at which DeRosa joined Texas and blasted off), but that's probably not going to happen because he's a massive disappointment who can't stay on the field and can't hit even when he is on the field.]
Quick Hits: Per MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan, free agent infielders Jamey Carroll and Mark Loretta "could interest" the Rangers, as might free agent right-hander J.J. Putz ... SI.com's Jon Heyman continues to report that free agent shortstop Miguel Tejada -- who was not offered salary arbitration by the Astros -- is drawing interest from the Rangers ... Free agent left-hander Billy Wagner, a player of reputed interest to Texas, has reportedly signed a one-year, $7 million contract with the Braves ... Rangers executive vice president of communications confirmed on Tuesday that the arduous process of refunding 2009 post-season tickets was completed on Monday, adding that the team's financial situation was not to blame for the lengthy delays (although that explanation likely won't appease the seething masses).