OKC was under a threat of ice and snow, so I headed down to Texas early Thursday morning to make sure I wouldn't miss anything. Turned out to be a good thing because I avoided the weather and was able to go to one of the caravan events in Arlington featuring some of my favorite Rangers personalities (Derek Holland, Jim Sundberg and Tom Grieve). Mike Maddox, Ron Washington and Rich Harden were also there. I gave Jim a hard time about the Rangers pulling their affiliation now that they finally have some good prospects. He of course couldn't really comment.
Friday was another autograph session before the dinner. They had 3 rooms with 2 players each and you could go to one room per ticket. We had extra tickets since a couple of people didn't make it down, so Jamie and I got to go to 2 rooms. The first room we chose was Scott Feldman and Justin Smoak. Worked out well since Scott and Derek were the 2 players I most wanted to see, and Jamie wanted Justin on a ball. You had to get there at 4:30 to get tickets for the 6:00 autograph event. Then you were told to wait in line because the players would be signing only between 6-6:30 and would be leaving at 6:30 even if there were still people in line. At 6:21 Scott and Justin finally walk into the room. I wasn't worried about not getting an auto (there were only 20 or so people in line) but being forced to wait that long in a tiny room annoyed me. I expressed my displeasure to Scott who informed me he had been there ready for half an hour. So basically it was another typical Rangers screw up. Anyway, I am happy to report that Scott is as cool as ever. Justin was nice as well and expects to start the year in OKC.
Jamie and I then headed over to room "C" which had Mike Young and Craig Gentry. Mike was also his usual cool self. I asked him about Hank and he said nothing new on that front and he hadn't signed with anyone yet. The one room we didn't go to had Martin Perez and Elvis Andrus. Although we missed that room, Will did get to go and get both on a ball.
During the dinner all of the players were at the head table (think segregated to keep them away from fans). However, once I saw Derek Holland, Tommy Hunter and Taylor Teagarden were at the dinner, I headed that way after they were finished eating and got to visit with all 3 for a few minutes.
Speaking of Justin Smoak, he was awarded the Dick Case Award by USA Baseball for his international play.
As most of you probably already know, the sale of the Rangers to the Greenberg/Ryan group is done pending approval by Hicks' lenders and the MLB (and it should be approved). This of course has caused all of the reporters and bloggers out there to start reporting that the Rangers will switch there affiliation to Round Rock after this season. *Yawn* They need to get with the times...we have been saying that for over 2 years! I still think our new affiliate with be the Marlins or the White Sox. Other possibilities are Houston (though I suspect they'll go back to New Orleans), the Blue Jays (want out of Vegas, but I think they want to go back to the IL) and the Brewers (no new park in Nashville may make OKC an attractive option).
Lots of Rangers related transactions. Ex-Hawk John Koronka signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers. The Brewers claimed briefly a Rangers Joe Inglett off waivers. Frank Catalanotto signed a minor league deal with the Mets. Ex-Hawk Jose Veras signed a minor league deal with the Marlins. The Rangers traded Greg Golson, who they had DFA's to the Yankees for Mitch Hilligoss. Ex-Hawk Doug Davis signed a one year deal to return to the Brewers. Toby Hall signed a minor league contract with the Rangers. I think I already mentioned this, but the Rangers re-signed personal favorite Colby Lewis who is returning from Japan. Ex-Hawk Sam Narron signed with the Tigers. The Rangers signed 3B Lee Soto and SS Travis Adair. I believe they also re-signed Jailen Peguero.