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Keith Law, the senior baseball writer with Scouts, Inc/ESPN.com, told me that he thinks Frank Thomas will command $7-8 million on the free-agent market this winter. That would be for a one-year deal. Thomas apparently wants two years.

Would you give it to him at that price?

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Law is responsible for the scouting-oriented content of the web site, at all levels of baseball. When I told him that various scouts projected John Maine as a fourth or fifth starter in the majors when he was an Orioles' prospect, Law said he rated the right-hander as a fifth.

And now?

"A four. I don't think he's more than that," Law said.

"His fastball is dead-straight and he doesn't have a second pitch to hang his hat on, so he has to be just about perfect."

Law also noted that it doesn't hurt when you work in a pitcher-friendly ballpark with a great center fielder. A lot of those long fly balls would be home runs at Camden Yards, he said.

"I like Maine and I think he's useful," Law added, "but he shouldn't be pitching Game 1 for the best team in the National League."

The Mets didn't have much choice because of injuries to Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez. Maine wasn't particularly sharp, but he wiggled out of jams and caught a few breaks. Not bad.

Now that Buck Showalter is out as Rangers manager, Law doesn't expect Mark Teixeira to be traded.

"I can't see them in any scenario where they move Teixeira or Hank Blalock," he said, "unless they get a top-of-the-rotation starter in return."

Which brings us back to Erik Bedard.

Must-hear radio alert:

The last 20 minutes of The Ed Norris Show on 105.7 FM (12:40 p.m. to 1 p.m.) That's when they run their sports segment with Liz Drabick, whose voice is addictive.

I almost ran off the road once while listening to her, and I wasn't hanging out with B.J. Sams.

I had the pleasure of appearing on Norris' show recently as Drabick's guest. She knows her stuff. She also has a fabulous personality - and a face for television, if the fine folks at MASN happen to read this blog.

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My guess is you'll be hearing a lot more about her down the road. She's that good.

Drabick also does the traffic reports for WJFK and about a dozen other stations, including 101.9 WLIF, WHFS, Mix 106.5, 89.7 WTMD and WYPR. She also provides scoreboard updates for the Ravens and Terps.

It's also her fault that I'm now hooked on Starbucks lattes. I'm about to enter a 12-step program.

(By the way, there's nothing wrong with the rest of Norris' show. I'm just talking sports here. He's very good. And he's pretty intimidating. Did I mention that he's very good?)

If Sams ends up being suspended, would you trust rookie Cory Ross to return kicks, or do you go with Mark Clayton?

Did the A's really take two games in Minnesota?

Have to be honest. Didn't see that coming.

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