THE NEWBERG REPORT — MARCH 26, 2007

A few things.

The reason Adam Fox was added to the 40-man roster this afternoon is that you can only designate a player for assignment when the roster is otherwise full, and so in order to DFA Rick Bauer, Texas needed to get the roster to 40 full members. Righthander Alexi Ogando had been moved to the restricted list to clear a spot earlier in the day for the waiver claim of righthander Ezequiel Astacio, and so another player had to be added in order to permit the Bauer move.

Texas rewarded Fox, a new father and one of the more popular teammates in the entire Rangers system, with the paper move, which makes him a Union member for a few days – probably until the moves are made to add Sammy Sosa, Jerry Hairston, and possibly Matt Kata to the roster this weekend. It’s a classy move by the Rangers, much like one they made with Jeff Pickler and Paul Ottavinia in May of 2003, a gesture to a guy who has done everything the organization has asked and been the consummate professional in his four seasons in the system.

So Fox (who is 5 for 7 in camp) will be designated for assignment sometime this week. He’ll most likely clear waivers and be outrighted to the farm. But he’s in the MLB pension plan now, and he’ll always have that Union card. Very cool.

The Rangers now have 10 days to trade Bauer, try to get him through waivers (though he’s been outrighted before so he can become a free agent even if he clears waivers), or release him. Count on a trade for a non-roster prospect, but by no means a blue-chipper. It hasn’t been a good spring for Bauer, but he still ought to interest a handful of teams needing a swing man in the pen, based on his solid first half last year.

Jon Daniels said during the game that the organization decided during the day who the fifth starter would be, before Jamey Wright’s outing (5.1 innings, five runs on six hits [including two homers] and a walk, no strikeouts). Guess we’ll know soon.

Astacio is in fact out of options. He’ll have to win a spot in the Texas pen in the next week or else the Rangers will have to run him through waivers themselves. Waiver priority is currently based on 2006 win-loss records, and it would stand to reason that Texas will have a slightly better chance to get Astacio through waivers than Houston did, because it will be closer to the deadline to finalize rosters and because we already know that the half of the league that had a worse record in 2006 than the Rangers have already passed on Astacio once, even though the 27-year-old has had a very good camp (2.25 ERA in eight innings, four walks, seven strikeouts, impressive opponents’ line of .143/.250/.214).

High ceiling, low risk. Think of Astacio’s situation as similar to what might have happened if Joaquin Benoit, also out of options, hadn’t had such a good camp and was designated for assignment himself. Guys like that are going to get multiple chances.

(On that subject, pray that Benoit isn’t just teasing us. Good grief, is he nasty right now. That 7.2-2-0-0-0-11 line is dazzling – but he actually looks better than his numbers, if that’s possible.)

Having never been outrighted (unlike Bauer), Astacio would remain a Ranger if the organization successfully runs him through waivers unclaimed.

Astacio and Chris Burke (and in some versions, Mike Burns) were the rumored package that Houston reportedly offered Texas for Alfonso Soriano two winters ago. Houston had acquired Astacio from Philadelphia for Billy Wagner in 2003, along with fellow righthanders Brandon Duckworth and Taylor Buchholz, both of whom have moved on as well.

Philadelphia optioned Fabio Castro today.

Kip Wells is going to start the second game of the season for St. Louis. Wow.

Ron Washington and Tug Hulett’s dad Tim missed each other in Baltimore by just over one year, and while they were never teammates, they both finished lengthy playing careers with a stint in Oklahoma City in their final pro season. Tug doubled off the wall in the 8th tonight – he’s now 3 for 3 in camp, with three doubles.

Texas has released minor leaguer righthanders Shannon Wirth and Austin Weilep, infielder Jared Sandberg, and outfielder Brian Nelson. All but the journeyman Sandberg were Day Two draftees of the Rangers last June.

There’s a new indie ball league set to play in the Metroplex this summer, called the Continental Baseball Association. The Lewisville Lizards will be managed by former Rangers center fielder Tom Goodwin, while former Rangers infielder Curtis Wilkerson will manage the Tarrant County Blue Thunder. League tryouts will be held this weekend in Lewisville.

Peter Gammons called the Rangers, in a weekend article, “everyone’s favorite sleeper.”

Good night.

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

1 Comment

This is first time that i have read your blog and like that your giving my cousin Tug some love. Im not going to sit here and say he should be on the pro team right now but he has all the tools to be there soon. The fact that he is headed to AAA is great for me cause now I will get to see him play some games close. who does the AAA blogs or info? if you know could you please email me at rhulett01@sprintpcs.com,
Thanks,

Ryan Hulett

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