● Double-A Frisco right-hander Danny Gutierrez has incurred a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball after testing positive for the ADD-treating amphetamine adderall, constituting a violation of the minor league drug policy; Gutierrez reportedly possessed a prescription for the drug, but failed to apply for and obtain a league-mandated Therapuetic Use Exemption to use the drug with impunity (Evan Grant, Dallas Morning News)
[Hopefully this is the lone blind-siding tidbit of bad news to stream our way before spring training gets underway; last year, two out-for-the-season bombshells -- Joaquin Benoit and Eric Hurley -- both dropped within 10 days of each other at the end of January. Gutierrez, whose exceptional fastball-curve combo has elevated his stock to a point where some have regarded him as the sixth-best prospect in the organization (including, notably, Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus), has apologized for his oversight, and the Rangers have accepted it, albeit not without making their disappointment abundantly clear while doing so.
You know, I'm fully aware that procedural errors of this sort happen all the time, and I readily acknowledge that we don't really have any business passing judgment without knowing the full story (which we're likely never going to get), but it would be a little easier to give Gutierrez the benefit of the doubt if the cloud of "off-the-field issues" didn't persist in hanging over his head. This incident doesn't warrant branding him a headcase or anything of the sort, but it does fit into the pattern of irresponsible behavior that dates as far back as 2007 and came to a head as recently as last summer, and it's going to have to be proactively addressed at some point ... and probably sooner rather than later, at that.]
● General manager Jon Daniels confirmed on Thursday that the ballclub was maintaining dialogue with "some players and agents," but had no active offers on the table; furthermore, Daniels stated that the odds of Texas acquiring any additional players were "less than 50-50" (Jeff Wilson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
[A bit more on this and a few other items a little later this morning. Or something.]