Roster set to change.

The Rangers’ 40-man roster has only 35 players on it at the moment, but that’s about to change, as one window is about to shut and another is on the verge of opening.

The deadline to add non-roster players to the 40 is tomorrow, and the surest bet for Texas is 23-year-old lefthander Michael Kirkman, who went 9-8, 3.48 between Bakersfield and Frisco this year, finishing strong.  For what it’s worth, in the Bound Edition (which is a few weeks from coming off the presses) my prediction for roster protection is Kirkman and fellow southpaw Zach Phillips, who posted a 1.39 ERA between the Blaze and RoughRiders in 2009, pitching primarily in relief and doing an outstanding job harnessing left-handed hitters, keeping the ball in the park and on the ground, and killing the running game.

Among the other candidates for roster protection are corner hitter Chad Tracy, righthander Fabio Castillo, lefthander Beau Jones, outfielder David Paisano, and third baseman Johnny Whittleman.  The Rangers also have a recent history of acquiring a minor leaguer just before the deadline to finalize the roster, so don’t rule that possibility out.

At 11 p.m. tonight, teams can begin signing free agents who finished the 2009 season with other clubs.  Local reports suggested on Wednesday that the chances of Marlon Byrd returning to Texas are “growing dim,” as talks during with Byrd’s agent at last week’s GM Meetings in Chicago reportedly left the club less than optimistic that he’s willing to take what the Rangers are willing to offer.  

Faced with the possible loss of Byrd (who would net a supplemental first-round pick as compensation), the Rangers seem more intent on replacing his right-handed production than his center field defense, apparently comfortable with the depth at the position that Julio Borbon and Josh Hamilton provide.  It still wouldn’t surprise me to see Texas look into a short-term center field option, with Mike Cameron sitting at the top of my list, at least.

With a Friday deadline looming for the submission of proposals from potential suitors interested in the sale of the Rangers, an interesting wrinkle developed yesterday, as Tom Hicks acknowledged that he’s received commitments from Nolan Ryan and Roger Staubach to join “a number of local prominent families” in a group of potential investors headed by Hicks himself.

I haven’t weighed in much on the ownership issue – mainly because we know very little about what’s really going on with the process and any commentary on it would be pure guesswork – but I’ll say this: Staubach has always occupied a well-earned reputation in this market and community that Ryan and very few others have.  The two of them have always embodied tenacity on the field and unassailable integrity off of it, and just as Ryan has infused a tremendous amount of added credibility to this franchise, Staubach would push that needle even further.  That’s two guys who have always done things right, and are all about winning.

I didn’t know much about Hicks before he bought the Stars and then the Rangers, or about Jerry Jones or Mark Cuban before they came to Dallas to own sports franchises.  I’m not about to suggest I know anything about the various candidates reported to have interest in the sale of the Rangers, or what kind of owners they would make, but I’d be lying if I said the idea of Staubach being involved, even in a minority role, didn’t excite me a bit.

Ron Washington finished fifth in the American League Manager of the Year vote, tied with fourth-place finisher Don Wakamatsu in points but trailing the Seattle skipper in first-place votes, two to one.

Clint Hurdle and Rudy Jaramillo shared an employer in 1994, the year before Jaramillo joined the Rangers’ big league coaching staff.  That season, Hurdle was in his first year as the Rockies’ minor league hitting instructor and Jaramillo managed Colorado’s short-season Northwest League affiliate in Bend, Oregon.

Kansas City reassigned Darryl Kennedy from the High A Wilmington Blue Rocks, a club he managed the last two seasons, to the Royals’ Arizona League squad, which he’ll manage for the first time.  Kennedy’s interesting managerial history includes four stops in the Rangers system – a three-year assignment followed by three two-year stints – and now three gigs with Kansas City, the first of which was a one-year assignment followed by the last two in Wilmington.  

The leaders in most inherited big league runners allowed to score in 2009: Jamey Wright and Ron Mahay, with 22 each (out of 46 inherited for Wright, and 45 for Mahay).

Stay tuned for news flashes whenever the Rangers’ roster begins to build back up toward 40, a process that will begin tomorrow, if not today.  


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(c) Jamey Newberg
Twitter  @newbergreport

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