THE NEWBERG REPORT — NOVEMBER 30, 2007

According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, the Rangers have made the decision that Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be a full-time catcher going forward, ending the catcher-first base arrangement that he had after arriving last summer in the Mark Teixeira trade.

Whether this means that Gerald Laird is on his way to being traded this winter, or that Saltalamacchia and Laird will share duties behind the plate, or that Saltalamacchia could start the year in AAA was not addressed in the article, and of course it may be that all three are options for the club, depending on what happens over the next two months.

Texas is also bringing Jim Colborn aboard as director of Pacific Rim scouting. Colborn — who no-hit the Rangers as a member of the Royals in 1977 — held the same position with Seattle from 1997 until 2000 (before serving as the Dodgers’ and then the Pirates’ pitching coach the last seven seasons), helping build the Mariners’ huge presence in Japan. Prior to his work with Seattle, Colborn spent four years as the pitching coach for the Orix BlueWave of the Japanese Pacific League.

Colborn helped the Mariners sign Ichiro Suzuki — the two were together with the BlueWave — and Ichiro still refers to Colborn as one of the most instrumental people in his baseball career.

According to a Chicago Cubs blog called ahundrednextyears.blogspot.com, Tokyo media are reporting that the Rangers are among at least 10 MLB clubs pursuing outfielder Kosuke Fukudome, with the lowest known offer coming in at three years and $33 million. The Tokyo press suggests the Rangers, Cubs, Giants, and Padres are among the favorites to land Fukudome.

Colborn is surely involved in the process.

Sullivan also notes that the Rangers have decided they won’t offer arbitration to their four free agents: Sammy Sosa, Brad Wilkerson, Jerry Hairston Jr., and Jamey Wright by Saturday’s deadline to do so. Wright, according to Sullivan, is the only one of the four that Texas is meaningfully interested in bringing back.

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

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