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July 31, 2008

About two hours left

A text message from Rangers general manager Jon Danniels at 11:33 a.m. read, "Got nothing." Then again, the Mark Teixeira trade was announced more than two hours after the deadline last year. Gerald Laird to the Marlins is the hottest Rangers-related rumor going.

But consider this about Laird, who is a super guy, great teammate, great base runner and above-average catcher.

He is making $1.6 million after avoiding arbitration during the off-season. That came on the heels of a 2007 campaign in which he hit .224. Laird is hitting .320 right now and is arbitration-eligible again after the season. What kind of salary will he command should his numbers and defensive reputation hold steady? Maybe $5 million? (His agent is Scott Boras, after all.)

Should the Rangers pay him, or would they rather have Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden or Max Ramirez be their catcher for, oh, around $400,000?

Those who believe Laird should be paid must also believe the Rangers have no other pressing needs in 2009, like starting pitching, relief pitching or help at third base.

-- Jeff Wilson

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