Is this the 11th hour?

As the league's December 15 deadline for a potential Rangers buyer to be identified and granted exclusive negotiating rights approached, we were prepped for that to be the Chuck Greenberg/Nolan Ryan group. Then, on December 2, according to some reports, the Dennis Gilbert group seemed to break from the pack and settle into the lead. Then, Greenberg/Ryan again. Jim Crane then emerged on the 15th as the new frontrunner. Then, late in the day, Greenberg/Ryan got the nod.

Those of you who negotiate or mediate as part of your day-to-day know that, no matter how much progress is made early on, no matter how things seem to be going, and most notably no matter how much time has been set aside for the negotiations, the 10th and 11th hours are almost always the most productive.

Just as I refrained from commenting on the ownership story before the December 15 announcement that the Greenberg/Ryan group had secured the 30-day negotiating rights, I'm not going to fire off status updates on whether the two sides look like they're going to get this done. I'll let you know when there's actual news. As we talked about yesterday, that may be today. But it might not.

Righthander Colby Lewis's two-year deal, according to Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports, will apparently pay $5 million with another $1 million in incentives. It's less guaranteed money than Jason Kendall, Danys Baez, and John Grabow are getting this winter on their two-year contracts. Based on what Lewis has done in Japan the last two years (15-8, 2.68 and 11-9, 2.96, leading the league in strikeouts both seasons with a combined 369 in 354.1 innings - while issuing only 46 walks), and recognizing that Texas has had Jim Colborn in place scouting the Pacific Rim that whole time (that is, it's not as if the Rangers are just reading stat lines and relying on second-hand accounts), I feel good about this Lewis move, particularly with its relatively modest financial commitment.

The competition for rotation spots in camp is going to be interesting.

Once the Lewis and Khalil Greene signings are made official, two players will come off the 40-man roster. Candidates would seem to include Joaquin Arias, Luis Mendoza, and Joe Inglett, none of whom have options, and maybe Greg Golson and Brandon Boggs.

Yes, it was disappointing (though not surprising) to see Florida and Josh Johnson to come to terms on a four-year ($39 million) extension yesterday, but I'm not fully discouraged. It might turn out that it's easier to trade for Johnson (who did not receive a no-trade clause) a couple years from now than to battle the usual suspects at free agency time. Especially with the deal being heavily backloaded (to replicate Johnson's arbitration years up front), expect the Marlins to try to move him during the last two years of the contract, which call for $13.75 million each. A trade would cost Texas several important young players rather than just a forfeited first-round draft pick, but Johnson, as long as he stays healthy, will be worth it.

I'll let you know if there's any ownership news, whenever any of it comes down.

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Or, you know, doesn't.


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Jamey Newberg

Dallas attorney Jamey Newberg has been commenting on Rangers from the big club down through the entire farm system since 1998.

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas was born in Arlington, Texas, to Richard and Becky Lucas. He lived mostly in Arlington before moving to Austin, where he graduated from The University of Texas. Scott works for Austin Valuation Consultants, Ltd., and has published several boring articles about real estate appraisal and environmental contamination. He makes a swell margarita and refuses to run longer than ten kilometres.

Eleanor Czajka

Eleanor grew up watching the AAA Mudhens in Toledo, Ohio. A loyal Ranger fan since 1979, she works "behind the scenes" at the Newberg Report.

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