THE NEWBERG REPORT — DECEMBER 2, 2006

Barry Zito spent lots of time with Tom Hicks, Jon Daniels, Thad Levine, and fellow SoCal pitchers C.J. Wilson and Kameron Loe on Thursday. That’s good news.

The Mets — considered the leading candidate to land Zito — re-signed lefthander Tom Glavine yesterday, giving him a one-year deal with an option, for a guaranteed $11 million. That can’t be bad news for Texas, nor can the rumors that won’t die about New York speed-dialing Florida about Dontrelle Willis.

The Cubs — considered (along with the Rangers) the Mets’ top competition to sign Zito — offered lefthander Ted Lilly four years and what is most likely at least $10 million per season in the last couple days. Also not bad news.

Remember, for those succumbing to impatience:

1. The biggest player move Texas made last November was signing Rick Bauer to a minor league deal. December is when the fireworks began.

2. The starting pitchers who have signed with new teams so far this off-season? Adam Eaton, Woody Williams, Randy Wolf, and Kip Wells. All of whom spent a couple months or more sidelined by injury in 2006.

The only people who were correctly and appropriately impatient to this point were guys like Eaton and Alfonso Soriano, who jumped at deals they would have been idiotic to pass up, or to even let simmer.

(And the player who screwed up the most by NOT being impatient was Rod Barajas. Wow. He’s the new Jody Reed.)

Everyone else — players and teams, and you — should understand that pre-Winter Meetings patience generally pays off. The Rangers contingent of baseball decision-makers now heads off to Orlando, and this coming week should get very interesting.

Texas offered salary arbitration to Vicente Padilla at yesterday’s deadline to do so but declined to offer it to Barajas or Eric Young. Padilla has until December 7 to accept the offer, but he won’t since he can obviously get a long-term deal (and probably a higher AAV) on the open market. That one was a formality. Texas will get a supplemental first-rounder if Padilla signs a contract elsewhere, but the offer of arbitration doesn’t prevent him from signing a multi-year contract with the Rangers.

The Rangers won’t get a supplemental first if Barajas signs elsewhere. They would have if he’d consummated the two-year, $5.25 million deal that he and Toronto had “more than a handshake” on (says Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi, who added that Barajas did sign something and that the club was making plans to fly his family up for a press conference the next day), but since the 31-year-old backed out of the deal (firing his agents just before he was to take a deal-sealing physical), Barajas remains a free agent and Texas couldn’t risk offering him arbitration. There’s little doubt at this point that he would have accepted the offer, which would have produced a salary greater than the $3.2 million he made in 2006.

Now it’s questionable whether Barajas will be able to find so much as a starting job, let alone one that guarantees two years like Toronto had been willing to give him.

Texas wouldn’t have gotten any compensation for Young, whether they’d offer him arbitration or not.

Oakland offered Zito arbitration, so the team that signs him will forfeit its first- or second-round pick in June. In the Rangers’ case, they would surrender their first (16th overall) to the A’s, and the Blue Jays would end up getting the Rangers’ second-round pick (which is currently Texas’s sixth selection) for the loss of Frank Catalanotto.

Houston didn’t offer arbitration to Type A’s Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens, Russ Springer, and Aubrey Huff. Other Type A’s who were not offered arbitration include Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza, Greg Maddux, Eric Gagne, Cliff Floyd, David Weathers, and Mike Lieberthal.

Type A’s Jason Schmidt and Jeff Suppan were obviously offered arbitration.

Lilly and Mark Mulder were offered arbitration but are Type B’s, which doesn’t force teams signing them to forfeit any picks.

Kenny Lofton and Jay Payton were not offered arbitration but both are Type B’s, so that doesn’t matter, either.

San Diego offered Chan Ho Park (Type B) arbitration, which is sort of amazing.

As Mike Hindman reported this morning, outfielder Ben Harrison’s Venezuelan Winter League season was cut short when he separated his shoulder on a defensive play. Harrison, who hit a robust .311/.414/.477 (fourth in the league in reaching base and third with 17 extra-base hits in his 132 at-bats) and was named a league All-Star, had surgery in Arlington on Wednesday and, according to the Rangers, the procedure went well.

Righthander Alfredo Simon, whom Texas signed to a minor league contract a month ago, was shut down in the Dominican Republic with arm trouble and was flown to Texas for tests.

Cleveland officially hired Buck Showalter as a senior advisor in baseball operations.

Mike Boulanger, who finished the 2006 season as manager at Oklahoma, has been named the Rangers’ minor league hitting coordinator, replacing Brook Jacoby, who was hired by the Reds to be their major league hitting coach.

Milwaukee has promoted Dan O’Brien from a consultant’s position to special assistant to general manager Doug Melvin.

Boston named Luis Alicea, a noteworthy character in Newberg Report lore, its first base coach.

Tampa Bay named **** Bosman its minor league pitching coordinator, and Xavier Hernandez the pitching coach for its AAA affiliate at Durham.

Pittsburgh named Gary Green manager of Low A Hickory.

The Cubs named Barbaro Garbey hitting coach for AA Tennessee.

Seattle purchased the contract of catcher Craig Hurba from the Kansas City T-Bones of the independent Northern League.

As I mentioned yesterday, plans are confirmed to have the Newberg Report Bound Edition Release Party on Wednesday, December 13, from 6:00 pm until 9:00 pm at the Tin Star restaurant at 2626 Howell Street, Dallas, Texas 75204.

Barry Zito’s dinner buddies C.J. Wilson and Kameron Loe will attend, as will John Danks, and there are two other players whose attendance I should be able to confirm in the next couple days.

If you have paid for your 2007 Bound Edition, you can pick it up that night (bring some I.D. so we can match you up with our payment records). If you haven’t paid, I will have them there for sale ($25 apiece). As usual, the price for player autographs is simply buying the book.

Stay tuned.

And, um, thanks for your patience.

You can read more from Jamey Newberg at www.NewbergReport.com.

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