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Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Lobby talk: Texas and guys not named Cliff

By Richard Durrett


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- There's a little more activity in the lobby of the Dolphin Resort this afternoon as the crowds have increased around the large (fake) Christmas tree. After talking with a gaggle of baseball officials, here are a few things worth noting (in terms of guys not named Cliff Lee. You can check out the latest on that here):

* The Rangers continue to search for a right-handed bat that can play another position, preferably first base. It's not high in the priority list, but they are discussing some names. Paul Konerko makes sense because he's a right-handed batter that can play first base, but the price and years may be a little more than the Rangers want to go. But that could be dependent on where Cliff Lee ends up.

Among the players the club has at least shown some interest in: Matt Diaz (non-tendered by Braves, but can play outfield), Jim Thome (the club has had interest in him before and even though he's a left-handed hitter; he has a track record of success, though he is 40), and Marcus Thames (he's dealt with some injury issues, so he could come cheap).

* Texas has had success in the past with pitchers that have dealt with injuries or some down years but have some talent. They have met with the agent for Brandon Webb, though interest in him is based on what kind of risk they'd have to take on (in other words, would he get an invite for camp and not be guaranteed a roster spot, etc.).

* The Rangers met with the agent for Jeff Francis this week. The starter is another one of those injury risks. He had shoulder surgery in 2008 and started 19 games in 2010 but missed some time with shoulder tendinitis. He was 4-6 with a 5.00 ERA.

* Texas also met with Andrew Miller and his representatives. Miller, who is in town to meet with teams personally, is a 6-foot-7 lefty that can touch 97 mph with his fastball. But he's struggled so far in his brief major league career. The 25-year-old was 1-5 with an 8.54 ERA in nine appearances (seven starts) in 2010 for Florida. Boston traded for him in the offseason, but non-tendered him. So he's a free agent.