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D12: Texas Rangers set their sights on adding Jim Thome

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Duk's Dozen, a selection of 12 morning-fresh links and items, has returned in 2011 to start your baseball news day off right. Got links? Send 'em here or via Twitter.

1. Let's get this straight: The Texas Rangers just forced Michael Young(notes) into their DH spot after signing Adrian Beltre(notes) to a $96 million deal and now they're interested in adding Jim Thome(notes)?

Considering that Jimmers is going to want a raise from the bargain $1.5 million he earned in Minnesota last season, we're talking about the Rangers committing near $20 million to a DH spot that they could have had Vladimir Guerrero(notes) and David Murphy(notes) man for half the price. I know that Jon Daniels was eager to spend his newfound cash, but these are clearly not your father's 2010 self's Texas Rangers. DMN

2. Great news: Tony Gwynn(notes) has completed his cancer treatments and is plotting his return to coaching at San Diego State this spring. San Diego U-T

3. Farewell, Anna: Kris Benson(notes), the No. 1 pick in the 1996 draft, has retired. FOX Sports

4. Maybe it's the pre-coffee voices talking in my head, but wouldn't it be funny if Scott Boras arranged a deal between Andruw Jones(notes) and the Yankees, then sent Johnny Damon(notes) — another client — to Tampa for spring training instead? MLB Trade Rumors

5. At the bottom of this story about Jim Leyland's son being invited to Tigers' spring training is this line: "The team says it expects Al Kaline and Willie Horton to be in uniform this spring." Well, that's one way to build a team on veteran leadership. AP

6. Another way is to sign Brad Penny(notes) to a one-year contract worth $3 million, a deal that the Tigers are reportedly close to completing. FOX Sports

7. What's the only thing better than getting a new job in San Diego? Getting a two-year, $11 million raise shortly after arriving there. To this, Jason Bartlett(notes) can attest. The Heater

8. Bartolo Colon's(notes) recent performance in the Dominican winter league isn't going to allow many already-skeptical Yankees fans to talk themselves into him. Bronx Baseball Daily

9. Moves like the addition of Juan Uribe(notes) and his low OBP makes creating a Dodgers lineup an exericse that can really never end. Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness

10. Hey, who's worried about empty seats in the spring and the fall? The Cubs are using the promise of Yankees, White Sox or Cardinals tickets to sell seats at games against teams like the Pirates and D'Backs. Bleed Cubbie Blue

11. The Royals are looking for a few good social media experts to interview their players at the upcoming Royals FanFest in a few weeks. Ball Star

12. Ryan Dempster's(notes) VORCC (value over replacement clubhouse comedian) is nowhere near as high as his newest teammate, Fernando Perez(notes). Hire Jim Essian!

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