Prospects for a big couple weeks.

Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan apparently visited Cliff Lee in Arkansas a second time on Tuesday.  Probably not to beg him to accept the club’s offer of salary arbitration.

“It was a gesture we appreciated,” said Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker.

Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe continue to suggest, according to sources, that Zack Greinke simply will not accept a trade to the Yankees.

And the impressive Greg Schaum of speculated last night that Texas is pressing hard – whether the club signs Lee or not – to trade for Zack Greinke (whose wife, Schaum notes, is a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader), and it’s his belief that a deal could look something like Greinke for Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter, and either Jurickson Profar or Engel Beltre, with either Robbie Erlin or Roman Mendez (and perhaps Leury Garcia if the Royals were to choose Beltre rather than Profar) tacked on if the Royals were to add minor league lefthander Danny Duffy (a top prospect who briefly walked away from baseball for two months last spring) to the deal.

Given where things are and where they might be headed, it’s probably a good thing that Baseball America ran its Rangers Top 10 feature yesterday.  The makeup of the top of the Texas farm system could conceivably look a lot different in a week or two.

BA‘s top 10 Rangers prospects:

1.     Martin Perez, lhp
2.     Jurickson Profar, ss
3.     Tanner Scheppers, rhp
4.     Robbie Erlin, lhp
5.     Engel Beltre, of
6.     Michael Kirkman, lhp
7.     Mike Olt, 3b
8.     Luis Sardinas, ss
9.     Jake Skole, of
10.     Miguel De Los Santos, lhp

(For comparison’s sake, the first 10 of my Top 72 as they appear in the 2011 Bound Edition:

1.     Martin Perez, lhp
2.     Tanner Scheppers, rhp
3.     Jurickson Profar, ss
4.     Engel Beltre, of
5.     Robbie Erlin, lhp
6.     Michael Kirkman, lhp
7.     Luis Sardinas, ss
8.     Robbie Ross, lhp
9.     David Perez, rhp [BA had him at number 11]
10.     Wilmer Font, rhp)

BA projects this lineup for Texas in 2014, in the admittedly inconceivable event that no players get traded or acquired in the interim:

Catcher     Kellin Deglan
First Base     Mitch Moreland
Second Base     Jurickson Profar
Third Base     Mike Olt
Shortstop     Elvis Andrus
Left Field     Nelson Cruz
Center Field     Josh Hamilton
Right Field     Engel Beltre
DH        Ian Kinsler
No. 1 Starter     Martin Perez
No. 2 Starter     Tanner Scheppers
No. 3 Starter     Robbie Erlin
No. 4 Starter     C.J. Wilson
No. 5 Starter     Derek Holland
Closer         Neftali Feliz

BA‘s Best Tools in the Texas farm system:

Best Hitter for Average     Jurickson Profar
Best Power Hitter         Mike Olt
Best Strike-Zone Discipline     Chris McGuiness
Fastest Baserunner         Leury Garcia
Best Athlete             Jordan Akins
Best Fastball             Tanner Scheppers
Best Curveball         Tanner Scheppers
Best Slider             Michael Kirkman
Best Changeup         Miguel De Los Santos
Best Control             Robbie Erlin
Best Defensive Catcher     Jose Felix
Best Defensive Infielder     Jurickson Profar
Best Infield Arm         Leury Garcia
Best Defensive Outfielder     Engel Beltre
Best Outfield Arm         Engel Beltre

For what it’s worth, I put a similar feature in the Bound Edition, though instead of listing just one player per category, I have several in most of them, and instead of 15 categories, I go with 38, including some like best bat control, best life, best catcher arm, best outfield range, and best makeup.

Don’t count on Texas trading anybody away today, but the roster could very well get trimmed.  With this week’s signing of Yoshinori Tateyama and arbitration acceptance of Frankie Francisco, the 40-man roster is full, and space will eventually need to be cleared for a starter like Lee and a designated hitter, if not others.  One player whose spot is in immediate jeopardy is Dustin Nippert, as tonight is the deadline to tender contracts to players under team control, as he’s probably a player Texas isn’t inclined to go to arbitration with.  

Pre-arbitration players like Guillermo Moscoso, Clay Rapada, and Ryan Tucker could be on the bubble as well.

The news (Yorvit Torrealba, Tateyama, Francisco) has been trickling in, and there should be another trickle today as a little roster paring takes place.

But it’s starting to feel like there’s a little change in the wind and maybe, after another few sleeps, a possible news monsoon promising controlled havoc and awesomeness heading this way.

You ready?


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