A few updates on the free agent front:
1. Ken Rosenthal reports that the Sheets-Rangers talks have slowed as TX is trying to hold out for a 1 year deal. Unless sheets is opposed to a 2-yr low-base salary with heavy incentives to protect the team, I do not understand why this hasn't been done two weeks prior.
2. Oakland trades 2 non-top 30 position prospects (both ranked around 15th in 08) for the Cubs 30yo RH reliever Mike Wuertz whose #s the last 5 years have been really good. He appears to be a versatile 7th/8th inning guy. His splits are among the weirdest I have ever seen. He seems to pitch off of his slider which much be pretty nasty. In previous years he only threw his FB about 42% of the time but in 08 he threw it only 30% of the time. Really odd. And his fastball is not bad in terms of velo averaging 91. Salary of 1.1mill.
3. As rumored the last week, Balt gets the Cubs Rich Hill for a bag of bones. So there goes my evil plan to snag this headcase for nothing, set him lose in the bullpen to become our second or even third lefty, hopes he turns it around and maybe even competes for a rotation spot by the end of the yr or in 2010. FB/CB guy who lost 1-2mph on his FB/CB/Sl(show pitch) in 08 along with his control and state of mind (reportedly). FB ave of 89-90 in 06/07, 88.3 in 08.
So, taking the cue from the A's and Balt, JD should also be using the depth of the system to trade for guys like Wuertz or Hill. System depth is nothing if it is not used effectively and trading away prospects in your 31-60 range to get effective, relatively young, and cheap vets has to be a primary strategy for the rangers who are refusing to budge on payroll despite bargains remaining on the free agent market. In addition, if the Rangers' choose to be miserly this off-season, then they should be prepared to take on a few players that are high risk/high reward like Hill. As i stated in earlier posts, this means they should be in on guys like Mulder, chuck james, Sisco and Cordero. There is really no excuse _not_ to do both at the moment. However, we have seen JD do _neither_ this off-season which is cause for some concern IMO.
There is still plenty of time left, 10 days or so until ST, 2 months until the season starts. I bet JD is waiting on some more FA to sign, forcing teams to jettison some guys from the 40 or increasing the atmosphere to trade for a guy like Wuertz. Unfortunately, the longer the waiting goes, the more the remaining _bargains_ still out there will get snapped up, leaving this team with, once again, the dreggs of the market. With the cost of and length of contracts for starters, hitters and releivers getting knocked down to historically low levels, I think the rangers should be more aggressive and be willing to go 4-8 million over budget.