Smoakin'.

From Sunday’s report:

Big week ahead, both
in the short term and the long term.  All that Texas has before returning
to town Friday for a nine-game homestand is a three-game series in Boston, but
after that quick set with the Red Sox the Rangers will be anywhere from three
games back in the Wild Card race to 10 games back.  Obviously a massive
difference.  

Texas
sits 10 games back.

The season as a whole is not a disappointment – except from
the standpoint that every season is a disappointment for 22 teams, if not 29 -
but the way things went from Wild Card contention to the dog days, both in the abruptness
of the fall and in the manner in which the games in Boston were lost, there’s a
demoralizing snapshot feel right now, though I keep reminding myself that there’s
been serious progress in 2008:

  • A new
    identity not seen on this club in years – a tough, resilient, confident attitude,
    with lots of fight and lots of heart
  • A strong,
    young core offensively
  • A
    spectacular year in player development, particularly on the mound
  • An absolutely
    crystal-clear picture of what needs to be fixed at the big league level to
    take the next step

Texas now comes home for a
series with Tampa
Bay, with some really cool
Alumni Legacy Weekend events as a backdrop, but as Kevin Millwood and Matt
Garza tee it up for the series opener tonight, Jon Daniels will likely be
otherwise occupied. 

There are just over 12 hours remaining before Texas and first-round
pick Justin Smoak (and a few other key draftees) must bridge negotations and
come to terms.  Otherwise, the Rangers
lose their rights to Smoak and will be awarded pick 11A in next June’s draft.

While you won’t see me invoke the name of Matt LaPorta (“Wow, how could the Brewers draft that kid
when they’re all set with Prince Fielder??”
) quite as incessantly as I drilled
you with “Glaus vs. Grilli” leading up to the Mark Teixeira draft in 2001, I am
on record: I will be very disappointed if talks break down and the Rangers are
unable to sign Smoak today and add him to this vertically and horizontally deep
farm system. 

Because that’s how
you add impact pitching here.

Stay tuned for updates as the situation develops.

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