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Taylor Teagarden Rumors
The Orioles and Rangers have had ongoing talks about a deal that would send Taylor Teagarden to Baltimore, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The teams don't have a match yet, though they have discussed specific players.
The Orioles are looking for a solid defender who's comfortable backing Matt Wieters up, Connolly writes. Baltimore isn't interested in Jeff Mathis, who appears to be available now that the Angels have obtained Chris Iannetta, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link).
The Orioles are showing interest in Jason Varitek, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. They have offers out to some minor league free agents, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Kubatko suggests the team will likely make an acquisition today (Twitter link).
While the Orioles have just one catcher — Wieters — on their 40-man roster, the Rangers have three of them. Mike Napoli and Yorvit Torrealba are ahead of Teagarden on Texas' depth chart, making him expendable.
Jhoulys Chacin lowered his ERA to 2.81 today after allowing just one run on three hits in six innings today against the Padres. Chacin picked up his eighth win of the season and improved his case for inclusion on the NL All-Star Team.
Some notes from both divisions out west….
- The Giants are looking to the Rangers as a potential source of catching help, reports CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler. Taylor Teagarden is cited as a possible candidate once Mike Napoli returns from injury and resumes backing up Yorvit Torrealba. Knobler says the Giants' catching search has extended to the minor leagues as the club has sent scouts to look at various Triple-A backstops.
- Rich Harden looked good in his most recent simulated game and the Athletics are looking to send Harden on a rehab assignment in Triple-A next week, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- The Angels have signed 30 of their 49 draft picks, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. The highest pick to sign thus far is fifth-round outfielder Andrew Ray.
- The Angels and Rockies were the only MLB teams in the top 10 of ESPN The Magazine's annual list of the best franchises in sports, reports Chuck Schilken of the Los Angeles Times. The Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers topped the list, while the Angels were fourth and the Rockies eighth. The lowest-ranked baseball team? The Mets, who ranked 117th out of 122 teams in MLB, the NFL, NHL and NBA.
A couple items of note with respect to two Rangers players who could be on the trade block…
- The Rangers, well-stocked at catcher, may have been showcasing backstop Taylor Teagarden for a potential trade partner in the Padres in their Cactus League game on Thursday, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Texas has Yorvit Torrealba, Matt Treanor and Mike Napoli (who will also DH and play first base) on the catching depth chart, so Teagarden will not likely make the big league team out of camp, writes Sullivan. Earlier this spring, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports pegged the Royals as a potential landing spot for Teagarden.
- David Golebiewski of Fangraphs had a look at the five potential destinations for Chris Davis recently put forth by Ben Nicholson-Smith, and the takeaway looks to be that Davis' best shot may be to take over third base or DH duties for a team that is especially weak offensively at either of those positions and can stomach Davis' low OBP and bad glovework. The best fits could be for Davis to take over third from the old platoon of Melvin Mora and Geoff Blum in Arizona, or as a third-base stop gap for Matt Dominguez or Lonnie Chisenhall of the Marlins and Indians, respectively. With Davis' skills limiting him to such a narrow profile, Golebiewski thinks he could probably fetch a modest return, like a decent reliever, in a trade.
Though Kansas City boasts the game's best farm system, they don't have a clear-cut catcher of the future now that the powerful Wil Myers has moved to the outfield. Salvador Perez, a 20-year-old backstop who placed 17th among Baseball America's preseason list of top Royals prospects, hasn't played above Class A, so the Royals are looking elsewhere for catchers.
As Rosenthal notes, the Rangers and Nationals have a number of catchers and could be potential trading partners for Kansas City. The Royals have had interest in Taylor Teagarden before, according to Rosenthal, and since the Rangers already have Yorvit Torrealba, Matt Treanor and Mike Napoli at the Major League level, it would not be a surprise to see them listen to offers for Teagarden.
Meanwhile, the Nationals have a surplus of catchers and are open to dealing one of them. The Nats have Ivan Rodriguez, Jesus Flores, Wilson Ramos, and Derek Norris and would consider trading catching for pitching.
The Padres and Astros are among the other teams that could have interest in trading for a catcher this spring.
Here are some items of note from clubs out on the West Coast …
- The Dodgers don't yet have a plan for right-hander Vicente Padilla, writes Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. Padilla, last year's Opening Day starter, could (again) start, close or be a long-reliever, depending on injuries. Padilla's base salary reflects that, Hernandez writes. His base salary is for $2MM, but he can earn an additional $8MM in incentives for starting or $6.8MM for relieving.
- The Rangers once again are well-stocked with catchers, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, but this year, as opposed to previous years, they have a clear-cut starter in Yorvit Torrealba. Still, they have three other useful backstops in Matt Treanor, Mike Napoli and Taylor Teagarden, but because Treanor has a Major League deal and Napoli is a strong hitter and versatile defender, Teagarden, who still has minor league options, appears to be the odd man out.
- The Diamondbacks are experimenting with finding some more at-bats this spring for roster hopeful Micah Owings, writes Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. Owings, a right-handed pitcher, is in camp on a minor league deal and is vying for the long-relief job out of the bullpen, but he could improve his chances of breaking camp with the club because he can be used as a pinch-hitter and perhaps even as a first baseman, on occasion.
- Padres right-hander Dustin Moseley, who signed a Major League deal with San Diego in December, will pitch out of the bullpen if he doesn't crack the starting rotation, writes Corey Brock of MLB.com. Generally regarded as a swing man, Moseley chose the Friars over a handful of other suitors for the chance to win a starting job.
Jose Molina is the Rangers' "No.1 target" in the free agent catching market, reports Jeff Wilson of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Molina and Rod Barajas each turned down minor-league deals from Texas, with Wilson saying that Molina "isn't in a hurry to sign until some other catchers set the early-spring market."
Molina could also be holding out for a situation where he would have a better chance at a steady role, given that he would be one of seven catchers in the Rangers camp. Taylor Teagarden and Jarrod Saltalamacchia are the favorites to win or share the starting job, but Saltalamacchia's September shoulder surgery has left Texas looking for a veteran backstop in case their young star isn't ready for Opening Day. Wilson points out that Toby Hall (another experienced catcher signed to a minor-league deal by Texas last month) and Molina share the same agent.
Molina .217/.292/.268 in 155 plate appearances for the Yankees last season. He has a career OPS of .609 in 10 major league seasons.
The possible sale of the Texas Rangers from current owner Tom Hicks to a group led by Chuck Greenberg won't have any major repercussions on the team's current front-office composition or any of their planned winter transactions. In regards to the front office, Rangers president Nolan Ryan told MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan that should the sale go through, there won't be any "drastic changes" to how the club operates in the short-term, though "any areas of immediate need" will be addressed once the new ownership team has had a chance to fully assess things. Ryan himself is probably a big reason for this continuity, given that he is part of Greenberg's ownership group and will retain his position under the new regime.
Sullivan also heard from Texas GM Jon Daniels that the sale shouldn't interfere with any trades or signings the Rangers might have in the works, but the club is prepared to shift gears if necessary. Daniels told Sullivan, "We are not changing our plans, but we will evaluate anything or be happy to adjust when that time comes. Nolan and I have discussed that possibility and it could certainly give us some options at some point….The timing of that is unclear, but we're going forward with the same plans and financial parameters. And if that changes, we will adjust."
Daniels also discussed what some of these plans might entail in regards to what's left on the Texas wish list…
- Daniels said the team is more likely to bring in a second-tier veteran catcher or two to provide depth, rather than look for an everyday catcher. The GM said the club is satisfied with their current catching corps of Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden and Kevin Richardson.
- The Rangers are one of many, many teams interested in Matt Capps, and also "have ongoing talks" about free agent reliever Darren Oliver.
- The ever-impending Mike Lowell-for-Max Ramirez trade will hopefully be finalized this week when Lowell undergoes a physical.
- Daniels said there is "a decent chance" the team will sign another starting pitcher for depth purposes.
- The door isn't closed on Texas signing a free agent bat like Jermaine Dye or Vladimir Guerrero, if their price is right.
- The Rangers would like a utility infielder, but "that seems to be low on their priorities."
The Texas Rangers have an embarrassment of riches behind the plate, with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden and Max Ramirez all checking in at age 25 or younger. Saltalamacchia has received the most playing time at the big league level this year, hitting .255-.307-.411 in 153 plate appearances, but Teagarden has put up a more than respectable .347 OBP in 49 PA as Salty's backup. Ramirez is stashed away in Triple-A after putting up a .217-.345-.370 line in 55 PA last year.
With the team currently sporting a 4.5 game lead in the AL West and young catching always in demand, is now the time for the Rangers to make a move and push for the franchise's first playoff berth in 1999? Could a package centered around one of those three catchers plus one of Texas' promising young arms be enough to entice the Astros to move Roy Oswalt? What do you guys think?
Mike Axisa writes for River Ave. Blues.
Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes that the signing of Jason Varitek "should end any more talk of Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Taylor Teagarden being traded to Boston."
Saltalamacchia will head into spring training atop the Rangers’ catching depth chart, but Teagarden can win himself consideration with a strong showing in camp. Salty, 23, hit .253 last season with three home runs and 26 RBI in 198 at-bats. Teagarden, 25, batted .319 with six dingers and 17 RBI in 47 at-bats during a short time with the big league club.
Some quick notes from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe:
- The Twins and Giants will be monitoring Joe Crede‘s workouts in Arizona next week. Both teams have had ongoing interest this month.
- The Twins and Rangers are continuing to seriously consider Eric Gagne.
- Cafardo notes the growing sentiment among middle-market teams that patience could land an all star caliber player for a "low-risk one-year deal."
- Milwaukee would prefer to save and make a "Sabathia-like" deadline deal rather than spend now.
- Adam Melhuse signing with Texas could be a signal that Taylor Teagarden or Jarrod Saltalamacchia are en route to the Red Sox. Cafardo cautions that’s probably not the case since the Rangers have not come down on their asking price of Clay Buchholz.
- Watch for the Cubs to reengage the Padres and Jake Peavy now that they have found an owner in billionaire Tom Ricketts.