(P Thomas Diamond, patiently waiting for Kevin Millwood to fuck off)

“A three-year plan, a five-year plan or a forever plan” are amongst the time tables for the Texas Rangers to contend in the AL West writes the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Jim Reeves, comparing prior attempts at getting an honest reply from GM Jon Daniels to Norm Cash facing Nolan Ryan with the leg from a piano bench.  Prodding Daniels at a holiday party, however Reeves finally “didn™t feel as if I™d just climbed aboard world famous rodeo bull Bodacious. This time, I wasn™t bleeding and eating dirt in under 3.5 seconds.”

“We could be a second-half club in 2009,” Daniels said, “assuming some of our young players are ready to come up and help. I could see us making a push by then.”

He went on to note that 2010 was probably more realistic and for obvious reasons. That™s when the Rangers can be out from under around $40 million in contracts owed to Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Hank Blalock, Joaquin Benoit, Frank Catalanotto and Marlon Byrd.

In other words, the chance of actual money to spend in free agency (if he can tear it out of Tom Hicks™ vise-like grasp) and potentially a plethora of young players, especially pitchers, who should be ready to make the jump to the big leagues.

“It wouldn™t surprise me to see both [pitchers] Neftali Feliz and Derek Holland here sometime next season,” Daniels said. “Thomas Diamond, too.”

Daniels, in fact, says Diamond, completely recovered from Tommy John surgery, will be a candidate to make the big league club out of spring training‚… as a reliever. If he doesn™t, he™ll be in the rotation at Oklahoma City.

And with all the new stars on the horizon, it™s easy to overlook last season™s big rookie name, Eric Hurley. Daniels predicted that Hurley would win a rotation spot this spring.