A handful of things:
1. Texas reportedly offered minor league contracts recently to veteran catchers Jose Molina and Rod Barajas, each of whom turned the offers down. (Barajas seems poised to accept the Mets' minor league deal, one that reportedly has a million-dollar big league split [similar to what Texas gave Endy Chavez] -- and that's a situation in which he could easily break camp as New York's big league starter.) The defensively advanced Molina is reportedly the Rangers' top choice. Molina's agent is Alan Nero, who evidently also represents Toby Hall, the journeyman catcher who signed a minor league deal with Texas last month. (Potential conflict of interest for Nero?)
2. A couple more details on Chavez's non-roster contract: Chavez reportedly has an out clause that allows him to opt for instant free agency sometime in July should he not be in Arlington at the time. There's a $50,000 buyout on the $1.25 million club option for 2011, which increases to $100,000 if he spends at least 30 days in the big leagues in 2010. He can earn almost $500,000 extra this year if he maxes out on certain plate appearance and service time incentives.
3. Do you have a pitching machine for sale? Need to buy one for Max's Little League team.
4. I made a mistake two days ago when I wrote that Texas signed Marlon Byrd as insurance behind Kenny Lofton in December 2006. Byrd actually signed four days before Lofton did. But the point remains unchanged.
5. We need someone at our office to wall-mount and hook up a couple HD TV's. If you do that sort of thing, let me know.
6. MLB.com ran a story Tuesday about the 2010 season projections of some of the more prominent sabermetric systems. All three highlighted systems -- PECOTA, CHONE, and CAIRO -- project Texas to win the AL West (with between 82 and 87 wins).
7. Foot cramps suck.
8. Mike Lowell will head to Red Sox camp believing he'll end spring training in someone else's uniform. But his uncertainty pays him $12 million, which is a far more comfortable situation than the one Hank Blalock finds himself in.
9. Righthander Dustin Brader caught on with the Southern Illinois Miners of the independent Frontier League, lefthander Broc Coffman hooked up with the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the independent Northern League, righthander Josh Giles agreed to terms with the Northern League's Schaumburg Flyers, and lefthander Michael Tejera is now with Japan's Chiba Lotte Marines.
10. Happy Holidays.
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(c) Jamey Newberg