Well, can't say I saw that coming:
● Controversial Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has confirmed that he's contemplating jumping into the Rangers' sale sweepstakes, attributing his newfound interest to the fact that "the economics have changed" and stating that he would like to work with Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan; Chicago sports consultant Mark Ganis surmised that Cuban would want to be the lead owner, "even if he kept them both [Ryan and Greenberg] on" (Barry Schlacter, Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
[The good news is that ownership, at least in the context of the 2010 season, is no longer an enormously pressing issue after the acquisition of Cliff Lee; the bad news is that we've been talking about this for more than a year now and there's still very little clarity to the situation. There are a number of questions to be asked about Cuban, and I'm probably not qualified to answer most of them by virtue of not being the most NBA-educated writer, but one thing that can't be ignored is that he was able to muster a(n unsuccessful) $1.3 billion bid for the Cubs two years ago. Whichever ownership consortium brings Cuban into the fold enjoys a huge advantage dollars-wise.
Digging a little deeper into the well of opinions on Cuban, some -- including Mark Ganis -- believe he would be able to secure approval from other major league owners, invest whatever money is required to sustain post-season contention and translate his innovative marketing ideas to a franchise that could use some innovation in that regard; others point towards Cuban's propensity for rubbing authority figures the wrong way as a red flag, and there have been plentiful reports asserting that he will never own a major league team because of those concerns. I have a difficult time seeing how Cuban/Greenberg/Ryan could peacefully co-exist, but the latter two might ultimately have to capitulate and bring Cuban aboard if things continue to go awry.]
● The Rangers dispatched a scout to Baltimore last night, ostensibly to keep tabs on rumored trade target Ty Wigginton (whom Jeff Zrebiec intimates could recoup 1-2 "mid-level prospects"); in addition, Texas "may have" greater interest in trading for the Red Sox' Mike Lowell, and the Rangers were purported to have "strong interest" in the Cubs' Xavier Nady as of last week (Jeff Zrebiec, Baltimore Sun; Rob Bradford, WEEI.com; Bruce Levine, ESPNChicago.com)
[I suppose this means we can officially throw Ryan Garko into the "projected Opening Day right-handed bench bat that never got a real chance" bin. At least he'll have some company in Greg Colbrunn. Nady likely costs you next to nothing, but hasn't been his usual southpaw-mashing self this season (and isn't actually hitting at all, for that matter; Wigginton has the highest production floor of the three, but would likely have a target painted on his back once Texas relinquished an interesting prospect or two for him; Lowell's still interesting enough, I guess, and I suspect his post-season experience is something the Rangers would like hanging around the clubhouse, but he's hardly the missing cog.
I think I'm thoroughly sick of both of these subjects. How about something we're not sick of talking about?]
● Cliff Lee will make his second start in a Rangers uniform tonight at Fenway Park (DallasNews.com)
[There's an interesting process vs. results debate to be hashed out vis-a-vis the Lee trade, and it begins with this question: if the Rangers don't make the playoffs, does that automatically render this trade a failure? Considering that this was a trade predicated on the belief that pulling it off would make Texas a materially stronger World Series contender, I think a lot of people are going to fall into that camp ... but, of course, it's far better to evaluate based on the underlying process, and even if you're of the opposite mindset, you'd still need to see what the Rangers did with the resulting compensatory draft picks and so on and so forth. I don't know. Maybe we should refrain from overthinking this and simply sit back and appreciate a master of his craft at work while he's still here to be appreciated.]