Shiny new things.

Pitchers Scott Feldman, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Derek Holland, and Michael Kirkman.

Catcher Taylor Teagarden.

Infielders Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, and Michael Young.

Outfielders Julio Borbon, Nelson Cruz, Craig Gentry, Josh Hamilton, and David Murphy.

Those 14 players are all that remain from the 40-man roster as it stood two years ago today, as Jon Daniels and his crew were preparing to build the roster that would get to the first of the club’s two World Series appearances.

Change is the rule in pro sports, especially in baseball, and extra-especially in the case of the Daniels Rangers.  If you’re like me, that’s one of the cool things about being a fan of this team.  There’s no room for complacency.

Admit it: Anytime you see some sort of news flash that Texas has been involved in a trade, the adrenaline kicks in.  Even if the deal turns out to be Gabe Kapler and Jason Romano for Todd Hollandsworth and Dennys Reyes, or Jose Marte for Dustin Nippert, or Tim Smith for Danny Gutierrez, there’s something energizing about a baseball trade.  We like shiny new things.

When you get an email from your fantasy baseball or football buddy titled, “Trade idea,” come clean: Everything else gets put on hold.

The Rule 5 Draft pumps you up more than it should.

You spent more time with Twitter on July 31 than you did with your family.  Same will probably be true this coming Monday through Thursday.

And by “you,” I mean “me,” of course.

If an exact replica of C.J. Wilson – same age, same repertoire, same track record, same personality, same contract demands – were to leave his last team and sign with Texas for X years and Y dollars, I suspect that a huge majority of the faction that, for some weird reason, can’t wait for Wilson to leave would be leading the excitement parade for the new acquisition.

It was exciting when Rafael Palmeiro blossomed in Texas.  And when Will Clark was brought in to replace him.  And when Palmeiro was brought back to replace Clark.

The reason that this newsletter got rolling 13 years ago was because baseball fans like reading about prospects.  Prospects signal change.  Prospects are shiny new things.  Even when they’re Kelly Dransfeldt, whom Royce Clayton was simply placeholding for.  Or Cesar King, who was going to make the eventual loss of Pudge easier to cope with, or Ruben Mateo, or Jovanny Cedeno.  Oh, Jovanny Cedeno.

I’d be very sad without Kevin Goldstein and Keith Law and Jonathan Mayo and Baseball America and Jason Parks and Jason Cole and John Sickels in my life, writing authoritatively about prospects, some of whom may belong to Texas at the moment but won’t once the Winter Meetings are wrapping up a week from now.

Being on the seller end of the Mark Teixeira trade and Eric Gagné trade and Kenny Lofton trade and Gerald Laird trade was a blast.  But being on the buyer end of the Cliff Lee trade and Bengie Molina trade and Mike Adams trade and Koji Uehara trade and whatever comes next?  Much better.

Simply knowing that Greg Maddux will wear a Rangers uniform (will brother Mike surrender number 31 to him?) in February and March, and imagining the potential impact a few casual conversations could have on a handful of young Rangers starters, has fired many of us up.  So has Thad Levine’s decision not to interview for the vacant GM job in Houston, a decision that almost feels like change given the sense the last couple days that Levine landing that job was a fait accompli.

On the subject of shiny new things, the Newberg Report website has undergone a significant facelift, thanks to the energy and talent that Don Titus and Brian Rhea put into the project over the last couple months.  We have launched this morning.  Give it a spin if you have the time.

I haven’t written much lately, for a few reasons.  I needed a little break after the intensity of October and the November rush to get the book done.  Lately there’s been more COFFEY fodder than news.  I screwed my back up.  And there’s a sense, as we’ve come to expect every July and every winter from this front office, that things are about to get very newsworthy.  So I’ve been conserving my energy.

That list of 14 players at the top could be shorter in a week.  Teagarden is out of options, and if another spot is needed due to additions to what is now a 38-man roster, he could be designated for assignment.  It’s conceivable that Harrison could be moved in a deal for a frontline starting pitcher like Matt Garza, or that Kirkman could be included in a deal for an impact reliever like Andrew Bailey.  Maybe the right team comes calling with the right player and wants Borbon or Murphy.

You never know with this team.  Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder and Yu Darvish and C.J. Wilson all seem, at the moment, like remote possibilities at best.  But so did the likelihood of Thad Levine staying in Arlington.  Few saw Edinson Volquez and Danny Ray Herrera for Josh Hamilton coming four winters ago.

Hope the new website look works for you.  Let me know if you have any thoughts on making it better.  We thought this was the right time to launch it, given that this is one of the times carved out each year on the baseball calendar for all kinds of shiny new things, and for the promise of moving forward and leaving behind whatever had grown, at least in perception, a little dull.

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