THE NEWBERG REPORT — DECEMBER 14, 2007

According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, Texas was poised to trade Akinori Otsuka to the White Sox for Class A first baseman Chris Carter this winter before Chicago killed the deal upon reviewing Otsuka’s medical reports.

Two immediate thoughts:

1. Whatever turned up on the medical reports helps explain Wednesday’s non-tender.

2. And that bites. Because Texas apparently could have turned Otsuka into outfielder Carlos Quentin otherwise (as Chicago obtained Quentin for Carter a couple weeks ago).

There’s obviously a need on this club for another high-ceiling young outfielder. Texas has to be as light in impact outfielders between the 40-man roster and the upper levels of the farm system as any organization in baseball. The club can’t afford to go into every foreseeable winter (until Julio Borbon and Engel Beltre and maybe John Mayberry Jr. arrive – which assumes that everything goes right with their own development) trying to add an outfielder or two. It’s too expensive and it hamstrings the effort to effectively build other parts of the roster.

Sullivan adds that Texas hasn’t talked to Scott Boras about center fielder Corey Patterson since the Winter Meetings.

Good.

The Rangers have a 2:00 press conference this afternoon to announce the signing of Japanese right-handed reliever Kazuo Fukumori to a two-year, $3 million deal that reportedly includes a club option for 2010.

The whole Mitchell Report story gave me tired head about five minutes into his presentation yesterday, but I thought the following note from ESPN.com’s Rob Neyer was interesting:

======================================

Upon my first skim-through of the Mitchell report, my favorite passage is the one about Eric Gagné. Shortly after the 2006 season, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein e-mailed scout Mark Delpiano, “Have you done any digging on Gagné? I know the Dodgers” — not to mention everybody else in the world — “think he was a steroid guy. Maybe so. What do you hear on his medical?”

Delpiano’s response:

“Some digging on Gagné and steroids IS the issue. Has had a checkered medical past throughout career including minor leagues. Lacks the poise and commitment to stay healthy, maintain body and re invent self. What made him a tenacious closer was the max effort plus stuff . . . . Mentality without the plus weapons and without steroid help probably creates a large risk in bounce back durability and ability to throw average while allowing the change-up to play as it once did . . . . Personally, durability (or lack of) will follow Gagné . . . .”

Nine months later, the Red Sox traded three young players — two of them pretty good prospects — for Gagné. And four months after, the Brewers gave Gagne $10 million. Gives you a little bit more respect for scouts, huh?

======================================

Makes that trade look even better, from a Rangers standpoint.

Would the Astros have been able to make a better trade for Miguel Tejada if they’d waited just one more day?

Weird management.

Looking forward to seeing a lot of you tonight at the Book Release Party, where you can meet Chris Davis, German Duran, Doug Mathis, Johnny Whittleman, and Blake Beavan, five likely future big leaguers. Bring a baseball or bat, get it signed up along with your 2008 Bound Edition, and give it to your kids or a good friend for the holidays.

And please don’t forget to bring new, unwrapped toys for the Toys for Tots Drive as well.

Leave your Mitchell Report at home.

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

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