Let the Meetings begin.

Some pre-Meetings points Jon Daniels made on Wednesday that I found interesting:

Daniels said there are clubs that have been “consistent in their interest” in the Rangers’ catchers, and that he’s had second and third and further follow-up calls with some of them.  Given the interest level that we’ve received, said Daniels, there’s a good chance we’ll trade a catcher this off-season — but we’re not opposed to going to camp with all four if the trade opportunities don’t fit with what we want to do.  

And: “We’re not ready to move on anything, but we have a good idea where we stand with some teams.  The demand is there — that’s what we’re exploring.”

(Adrenaline.)

While it doesn’t rise to the level of our catchers, there’s been interest in our outfield depth as well.

Daniels said we haven’t made any free agent offers yet.  Free agent movement around the league this week in Las Vegas, he said, ought to be the catalyst for other things to start happening.

(Love this time of year.  Can’t wait until the Meetings return to the Anatole, just to be around that unmistakable buzz.)

Daniels said he’s not actively pursuing any Japanese pitchers at the moment.

With the typical pace of the Winter Meetings and the potential for the need to act quickly, Daniels has chosen not to set aside any time in Las Vegas to interview potential hires for minor league pitching coordinator (replacing new Seattle pitching coach Rick Adair) or for the AAA and Short-Season A pitching coach positions (Mike Anderson, who had filled the latter in 2008, moves from Spokane into a pro scouting role, while the AAA post was held down by Keith Comstock after Andy Hawkins was added late in the summer to the big league staff).  Although Daniels didn’t say this himself, it’s been reported that Frisco pitching coach Terry Clark is likely to move either to the coordinator’s role or to Oklahoma City.

New big league third base coach Dave Anderson filled both the minor league field coordinator position as well as roving infield instructor role in 2008.  New hire Harry Spilman (the former Astros player and coach who has strong ties not only to Nolan Ryan but director of player development Scott Servais as well) could fill part of the former, while Texas may look to hire another coach to take on the infield instruction position.

Other stuff:

Jack Magruder of the East Valley Tribune reports that Texas is one of at least six teams expressing some level interest in free agent lefthander Randy Johnson.

Go to http://www.bbtia.com/home/2008/12/6/kevin-goldstein-qa-part-i.html for an excellent Jason Parks-driven, Rangers-centric fan Q&A with Baseball Prospectus guru Kevin Goldstein.  Great stuff.  And it’s only Part 1.

The Rangers re-signed 25-year-old righthander Elizardo Ramirez, who was 10-7, 4.50 for Oklahoma last year and gave up nine runs in a forgettable 2.2-inning appearance for Texas on June 4.  Minor league deal, of course.

Seattle outrighted R.A. Dickey.  He’s halfway to former Pirates infielder John Wehner’s (1991-2001) six, which probably isn’t a record, but Wehner always seemed like King Outright to me.

Houston signed Matt Kata to a minor league contract.  

Minorleaguebaseball.com ranks Neftali Feliz as the number nine prospect in baseball, Elvis Andrus number 21, and Derek Holland number 46.  

A little different from the order I have them in — and I have Justin Smoak and Michael Main ahead of Andrus.  Last night I packaged about 300 pre-purchased books that, on page 4, contain my Top 72 Rangers Prospects List.  it’s the heaviest preorder count I’ve had yet, and I thank you all for that.

A quick thanks also to Kathy Henley and Vinh Nguyen of Kubra, Marty Yawnick of Type A Design, and the industrious Devin Pike for their huge roles in getting the 2009 Bound Edition done this year.  

It’s certainly not required that you do this, but if you’re coming to the book release party at Sherlock’s in Arlington on Wednesday night (along with Jeff Zimmerman, Michael Young, Chris Davis, and Derek Holland), and if you’re a Facebook user, you can go to http://tinyurl.com/6a6ec7 and sign the guest list if you want.  There’s also updated details on the party on that page.

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

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