According to a Major League source who spoke to Ken Rosenthal (Fox Sports), the offer that Texas made to Vladimir Guerrero (presumably between the Winter Meetings and the holidays, based on other hints that have been dropped) was for one year and $8.5 million, an amount rejected by Guerrero, who now stares at a Baltimore offer for one year between $3 million and $5 million.
Bruce Levine (ESPN Chicago) said in a Tuesday chat session
that the White Sox offered Jermaine Dye to the Rangers for Michael Young three years ago, which Texas countered by asking Chicago to add lefthander Aaron Poreda to the deal. Levine mentioned the same thing in January 2009 (so actually two years ago), about the time that it became public that Young had asked the Rangers to explore trade possibilities, days after which he backed off of that stance and agreed to move to third base.
Buster Olney (ESPN) predicts that Texas will repeat in the AL West and that Oakland will be the AL Wild Card team.
Baseball America, in ranking the top college players in 2011, unsurprisingly ranks Matt Purke number one among the nation’s sophomores, and also has two other picks from the Rangers’ 2009 draft class on the list: Florida State third baseman Jayce Boyd (19th round) is the publication’s number 29 sophomore, and Nebraska righthander Tom Lemke (10th round) is number 44.
Several Rangers picks from 2008 are on BA’s list of the nation’s top juniors, all of whom are draft-eligible this June: Arizona State outfielder John Ruettiger (Rangers’ 35th-rounder) is number 24 overall, Clemson shortstop Brad Miller (39th round) in number 32, Miami third baseman Harold Martinez (19th round) is number 33, and Vanderbilt righthander Jack Armstrong (36th round) is number 42.
Among seniors, Clemson outfielder Jeff Schaus (Rangers’ 35th-rounder, 2007) is number two overall, Notre Dame righthander Brian Dupra (Rangers’ 36th-rounder, 2007) is number four, Alabama-Birmingham righthander Ryan Woolley (Rangers’ 39th-rounder, 2010) is number 27, and Florida International outfielder Yoandy Barroso (Rangers’ 46th-rounder, 2007) is number 49.
Stanford third baseman Brian Ragira, whom the Rangers drafted in the 30th round last year out of Arlington Martin, is the number 13 freshman.
The Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the independent American Association signed first baseman Jim Fasano.
On to the buried lead.
Today Goldstein ranks the Rangers farm system, which he characterizes as one that “has dropped dramatically [from one of the best in the game] due to a combination of graduations, trades, and disappointments” and that boasts “a wealth of young, high-ceiling talent, but the majority of their prospects are just that, extremely young . . . plenty to dream on, but very little reality, and even less that can help them in 2011.”
1. Martin Perez, LHP (my Bound Edition ranking: 1) (nuggets from Goldstein’s lengthy analysis: “scouts saw through the uneven  results and remained high on his future . . . armed with three plus pitches, Perez has the ability to become an impact starter . . . could reach the big leagues before his 21st birthday [which will be in April 2012]”
2. Jurickson Profar, SS (3) (“more than held his own in a college player-heavy short-season league . . . not only fit in with the much older Spokane club, he emerged as a team leader . . . does not have star-level tools as much as he simply lacks any obvious weaknesses . . . ETA: 2014”)
3. Tanner Scheppers, RHP (2) (“has a history of arm troubles and his delivery is far from pretty, leaving many scouts wondering why he didn’t stay in the bullpen, where he’s nearly big-league ready . . . Rangers are still convinced that Scheppers can be a big-league starter, but few scouts contacted for this piece agreed with that assessment”)
4. Engel Beltre, CF (4) (“best tools of any position player in the system . . . 60 runner on the 20-to-80 scale, and a very good center fielder with a true plus arm . . . capable of 20/20 seasons . . . swings at pitches in his eyes, constantly chases breaking balls out of the strike zone, and rarely puts himself in a position to get a pitch to drive”)
5. Michael Kirkman, LHP (6) (“everything about Kirkman’s game improved in 2010”)
6. Robbie Erlin, LHP (5) (“owner of the best command and control in the system, not only treating walks as if they’re a criminal offense, but also using both sides of the plate effectively . . . emotionless cyborg on the mound who never gets rattled, working at a consistent pace with a calm demeanor . . . could find himself on the fast track”)
7. Jake Skole, OF (11) (“baseball was always Skole’s second sport, so he’s still raw”)
8. Luis Sardinas, SS (7) (“loaded with tools . . . [in a perfect world he’s] [a]n above-average everyday shortstop with great glove and decent bat . . . [i]f he plays in 2011 [due to an Instructional League shoulder injury that required surgery], it will be at Spokane”)
9. Jorge Alfaro, C (12) (“big, athletic catcher with the potential to be well above-average, both offensively and defensively . . . ability to shut down an opponent’s running game with arm strength that already rates amongst the best in the minors . . . still learning the nuances of catching, and his arm will become more of a weapon with improved accuracy . . . will spend his first year stateside in Arizona, beginning in extended spring training and then playing in the complex league”)
10. Mike Olt, 3B (19) (“classic third-base profile: he’s big, strong, and athletic . . . plenty of raw power and projects to hit 20-plus home runs annually while also drawing a good number of walks . . . considered one of the top defensive third basemen in the 2010 draft, with outstanding instincts, soft hands, and a strong arm . . . [but] swing is long and has more uppercut than loft in it”)
11. Roman Mendez, RHP (21) (“[acquired from Boston in the Jarrod Saltalamacchia trade, he has] one of the best arms in the system, throwing heat that sits at 94-97 mph and touched 99 at times last year . . . [will] flash a plus power slider at times, and has some sense of a changeup . . . ideal frame for a young pitcher, and an extremely loose arm . . . considerable effort in his delivery, which gives him some control issues . . . has the raw stuff to be an impact-level pitcher . . . role is still to be determined, but he could potentially close”)
These nine players would round out Goldstein’s top 20:
12. Robbie Ross, LHP (8)
13. Miguel De Los Santos, LHP (18)
14. Kellin Deglan, C (26)
15. Luke Jackson, RHP (16)
16. David Perez, RHP (9)
17. Miguel Velazquez, OF (23)
18. Christian Villanueva, 3B (17)
19. Fabio Castillo, RHP (13)
20. Wilmer Font, RHP (10) (“He would rank higher if not for [Tommy John surgery]; he had earned some Carlos Zambrano comps for both his stuff (good) and body (bad)”)
Goldstein’s sleeper is righthander Matt Thompson (m
y number 15), “an athletic righthander with projection and a silky-smooth delivery” that some scouts are high on despite a 4.66 ERA and 11.6 hits allowed per nine innings for Low A Hickory in 2010.
I’ll let you check out Goldstein’s “Top 10 Talents 25 and Under” rankings to see where he folds Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus, Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter, Julio Borbon, and Mitch Moreland in among the abovementioned prospects.
I highly recommend the entire feature.