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Lobby Talk: Get ready for replay

Note: Periodically during the winter meetings, we'll post some of the chatter going on in the lobby in regards to players the Texas Rangers may be interested in this week at Disney World.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Since we don't have a whirlwind of trades and signings to discuss (at least not yet), conversation here at Disney World has turned to instant replay.

The managers and general managers were briefed this morning by Major League Baseball on how parts of the system are going to work. Several managers shared some of those details.

Each manager gets one challenge in the first through sixth innings. If you get that challenge right, you get an extra one. But after the sixth inning, it's up to the umpires to get together. And two managers I talked to expect the umpires to do just that, saying they want to get the calls right just like everybody else.

Managers can't challenge everything. For example, they can't challenge the "vicinity" plays at second base. I would imagine that's because those plays would be challenged all the time and that it's up to the discretion of the umpire to figure out where players are and how that should be called. Never mind that keeping those plays the way they are now might help with injuries. If you force players to stay on the bag longer to be sure they get that call and aren't overturned, you're likely to have more players run over. Just a thought.

But fair and foul calls in the outfield are fair game. I asked two managers which call they think will be challenged the most. The answer was the same by both of them: stolen bases.

How many times have we seen the umpires have trouble with whether the runner got his hand on the bag before the tag? Now they can slow that down in replay and, hopefully, get the call right more often. So look for that.

I also wonder if a manager hasn't used his challenge in the first five innings, might he challenge the next close call in the sixth inning no matter what or risk losing the challenge? Again, that's just me speculating.

I didn't hear much complaining about the rules. As one skipper told me: "When Tony La Russa and Joe Torre support it, it lends credibility."

Other tidbits:

* Word is Scott Boras will appear in the lobby this afternoon. We'll see if he says anything of substance regarding Shin-Soo Choo.

* Most of the folks I've talked to expect very little to happen today and tomorrow morning, especially on free agents. Two agents told me they think Choo and Nelson Cruz will go into January. We'll see.

* When I asked one Rangers official about the lack of activity, he said that even though there wasn't the same rhythm at these meetings, the staff has had a chance to work together and even do "a little bonding." That's certainly not a bad thing.