Final-day tidbits and rumors after the sheer transactional chaos that was Wednesday ... and on top of that, stay tuned for the Rule 5 Draft, which is set to take place at 8:00 a.m. CST (and in which the Rangers will be involved, as they have received the third pick in the draft from the Orioles as part of the Kevin Millwood trade):
11:30 P.M. CST -- The Rangers and Red Sox have agreed upon the terms of the aforementioned Mike Lowell-for-Max Ramirez (which remains contingent upon each player's medical records being approved), with Boston apparently absorbing all but $3 million of Lowell's $12 million salary for the 2010 season; however, the deal may not be finalized until early next week, and while commissioner Bud Selig is expected to green-light the deal, he has "reservations" about the Rangers' adding $3 million in payroll (Rob Bradford, WEEI.com; Gordon Edes, ESPNBoston.com)
4:55 P.M. CST -- Rich Harden has reportedly passed his physical, completing his signing of a one-year deal with a 2011 mutual option; a press conference to announce the signing has been scheduled for 10:00 a.m. CST on Friday morning at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (Anthony Andro, Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
[Love it. More later.]
4:50 P.M. CST -- According to general manager Jon Daniels, the probability of re-signing free agent outfielder Marlon Byrd seems relatively low (Richard Durrett, ESPNDallas.com)
[Nothing we haven't known for quite some time, but still reassuring to see this coming straight from the horse's mouth. Again, this ballclub isn't in the sort of financial position where it can commit something like three years and $20 million to a player who isn't really going to make the team all that much better going forward.]
4:45 P.M. CST -- Baltimore selected Giants left-hander Benjamin Snyder with the third overall pick in the Rule 5 draft, who will be shipped to Texas to complete the Kevin Millwood deal (Jeff Wilson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
[Snyder, 24, overtakes Clay Rapada in the prospective-LOOGY hierarchy; he brandishes a high-80s fastball and a slider which has reportedly impressed Rangers scouts, and has emasculated left-handed batters in the minors to the tune of a .191 opponents' batting average over his four professional seasons. One continues to get the sense that this C.J. Wilson-as-a-starter line of thought has gained some serious traction in the front office -- either that, or Texas is positioning Wilson as a viable trade candidate.]
4:30 A.M. CST -- St. Louis "strongly considered" pursuing Rich Harden, but instead opted to sign Brad Penny after examining Harden's medical records (Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune)
[This is not what you -- nor I -- wanted to read vis-a-vis Harden, but it does drive home an important, albeit sobering point: his physical is not a mere formality in any sense. Harden's amassed 51 starts over the last two seasons, but his tagging as an injury-prone pitcher is not off-base and the most logical place to set the over/under for the number of innings he'll pitch in 2010 is around 140.]
4:15 A.M. CST -- The terms of right-hander Rich Harden's impending contract entail a one-year commitment at a guaranteed sum of $6.5 million (with $2.5 million in available incentives), followed by an $11 million mutual option for 2011 with a $1 million buyout (Jeff Wilson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
[Just to clarify, the mutual option means exactly what it sounds like -- both parties must agree upon the option being picked up in order to activate it, but it only takes one party to sever the agreement and end the contractual commitment. It seems that the impetus behind Harden opting for Texas over Seattle was the Mariners' hesitance regarding "accelerator clauses" requested by Harden's camp.
Provided that this all goes down as we think it's going to go down, this is a good, solid signing with the potential to be utterly fantastic -- one which I hope to further opine about once I have the luxury of a little more spare time on my hands. The biggest and most apparent downside here is that if Harden is both healthy and good (a tall order, to be certain, but possible), he's not going to stick around.]
4:00 A.M. CST -- Some 10 months after undergoing elbow surgery to repair a partially torn right flexor tendon, free agent right-hander Ben Sheets is reportedly only throwing off flat ground from a distance of 60 feet and may not be ready to go by the start of spring training; however, he's reportedly seeking a 2008-esque salary, which would be something in the vicinity of $12 million (T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com; Richard Durrett, ESPNDallas.com)
[Because what would the final day of the winter meetings be without your obligatory Ben Sheets update? I get this strange vibe that he's going to be somebody that remains linked with Texas for the next several years, but ultimately fails to become a Ranger year after year due to some unforeseen circumstance -- injuries, poor fit, prolonged exposure to radiation -- and then finally lands with Texas once his arm is shot and/or he's no longer any good. Shades of Sidney Ponson.
Sheets is, of course, not going to get that $12 million he's seeking; heck, he may not get even half of that. It's all a big, elaborate game of posturing.]
Quick Hits: The Diamondbacks have denied offering catcher Chris Snyder to the Rangers for left-hander C.J. Wilson ... The Rangers' interest in free agent catcher Rod Barajas has whithered due to his incongruous contractual demands; additionally, Texas has inquired into the availability of Diamondbacks utility infielder Augie Ojeda ... The Rangers and Angels are reportedly the most aggressive pursuers of free agent left-hander Darren Oliver ... Follow Baseball Time in Arlington on Twitter and/or Facebook.