Inbox: How can Rangers keep Byrd?
Beat reporter T.R. Sullivan answers questions from fans
What will it take to get Marlon Byrd back? Do you think Mike Cameron could be an option?
-- Mary R., Fort Worth
It will likely take a three-year contract from anywhere between $18-24 million to re-sign Byrd. That's the best guess at this point, but who really knows where the market is headed this winter. The Rangers may be reluctant to go to a three-year deal with Byrd. Cameron is an obvious option.
Byrd, Cameron and Scott Podsednik are the three best center field free agents. Podsednik is probably headed back to the White Sox. Interestingly, there's not that much of a demand for center fielders. Most teams looking for outfielders are focused on the corner spots. Of course, Byrd could easily fill a team's needs in that regard as well.
What is the status of Eric Hurley? Is he in the plan for the rotation next year? If so, how much will be expected of him?
-- John G., Denton, Texas
Hurley, a first-round Draft pick in 2004, missed all of last season after undergoing surgery for a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. He is currently on a throwing program and is expected to be ready for Spring Training. He'll probably start the season at Triple-A Oklahoma City and possibly be an option at some point during the summer.
How much of a difference will Clint Hurdle make? Or any hitting coach? Rudy Jaramillo had success with several players, but plenty others didn't make it like Ruben Mateo and Drew Meyer. Hank Blalock and Chris Davis regressed and Andruw Jones certainly didn't shine.
-- Thomas H., Fort Worth
No coach can cure everybody. Lack of ability and injuries are two tough twin peaks to overcome. So is lack of confidence, which is a bigger factor than you might realize. When you're dealing with multiple personalities on a team, some coaches will reach players that others might not be able to help. Some Rangers might flourish under Hurdle that didn't under Jaramillo simply because they mesh better. Jaramillo was outstanding, but he wasn't a miracle worker.
Do you think the Rangers will look at Matt Holliday since he played with Clint Hurdle?
-- Bryan B., Arlington
Yes. They will be looking at him playing left field for the Yankees or the Red Sox.
Will the potential sale of the Rangers help with expanding payroll flexibility for the current free agents, or allow the Rangers to increase payroll to go after a front line starter in 2010 or 2011?
-- Gary G., San Antonio
It's doubtful that the ownership change -- if there is one -- will take place soon enough to impact the Rangers' plans this winter. Next year might be a different story and right now, it's headed toward being a loaded free agent class as far as pitchers. Right now, the class includes Roy Halladay, Brandon Webb, Josh Beckett and Cliff Lee.
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What has to happen for Nelson Cruz to come back as a starter for next year? Would Jones, and Byrd both have to leave for other teams?
-- Tom G., Arlington
Right now, with Byrd having declared free agency, Cruz is the Rangers' starting right fielder with Josh Hamilton in center, David Murphy in left and Julio Borbon as the designated hitter.
If the Rangers will be looking for a strong right-handed batter this offseason, why not pick up Vladimir Guerrero?
-- Casey B., Fort Worth
Every player is worth considering, depending on contract demands. Guerrero will be 35 in February, his body has been banged up pretty good and he's likely to spend most of his time at designated hitter. Last year, he played in just 100 games and had career lows with a .295 batting average, .334 on-base percentage and a .460 slugging percentage. But he had a pretty good postseason -- hitting .378 -- and he certainly adds presence to a team's lineup. It will be interesting to see how much interest there is in him on the open market. Guess is, he may be back in Anaheim.
If the Rangers put C.J. Wilson in the rotation, who would be the best left-handed reliever in the free agent market?
-- Reggie M., Fort Worth
The best is Mike Gonzalez, who is 31 and from Texas. He and Wilson basically had similar roles this season. Gonzalez was the backup closer for the Braves behind Rafael Soriano and was 5-4 with a 2.42 ERA and 10 saves. He would be an impact sign. Another free agent to watch is Darren Oliver, who has had three excellent seasons with the Angels ever since resurrecting his career as a reliever. He still lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
When will Opening Day tickets go on sale?
-- Mel L., Fort Worth
Individual game tickets usually go on sale right before Spring Training. Season tickets -- including partial plans -- are available now.
How many full-time Rangers managers had a winning record here?
-- David P., Fort Worth
Billy Hunter (.575) and Johnny Oates (.515) are the only two. Kevin Kennedy was at .500 during his two seasons.
Will Eddie Guardado stay with the Rangers if he decides not to retire, or is his contract already up?
-- Matt M., Plano, Texas
Guardado, 39, said he was probably going to retire, but has filed for free agency. That allows him to keep his options open. The Rangers have a high regard for Guardado as a person, but if he does pitch again, it probably won't be in Arlington.
With the Rangers on a tight budget, what do you think of Brandon Backe? He wouldn't cost a lot, and do you think Mike Maddux could turn him into a decent pitcher?
-- Garret N., Carlisle, Pa.
He shouldn't cost anything considering he was released in July by the Astros and did not pitch again. His once-promising career has been wrecked by a bad elbow. He may show up somewhere in Spring Training, but no pitching coach can help him if his elbow is still a problem.
I noticed that as of Oct. 26, Michael Young is listed only third on the depth chart for third base, behind Omar Vizquel and Esteban German. Is he still having trouble with his hamstring, or are offseason depth charts meaningless?
-- Jimmie M., Richardson, Texas
It could be the club reporter forgot to have it changed. It should be corrected now.
What are the Rangers going to do if they have a playoff game scheduled at home at the same time the Cowboys have a game at their stadium?
-- Diana B., Arlington
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.