Taylor Teagarden Rumors

Salty, Teagarden Likely To Remain Rangers

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.

Cafardo’s Latest: Crede, Gagne, Rangers, Brewers

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.

Brewers Not Close To Looper Deal

5:41pm: Brewers GM Doug Melvin confirmed interest in Looper but denied that they’re close to a deal.  Melvin would not say whether the Brewers made an offer, but suggested Looper and the Brewers’ other targets want multiyear deals.

10:28am: In the "Etc." section of his Sunday update, Nick Cafardo has some updated information on a few free agents, as well as some potential trades.

  • Updating a key part of the back-of-the-rotation market, Cafardo says Braden Looper is "close to signing with the Brewers."
  • The Diamondbacks and Red Sox may soon revisit the possibility of an Eric Byrnes trade. Such a deal would likely be made more enticing for the Sox if Miguel Montero were somehow included.
  • The Red Sox would really rather not move Clay Buchholz for a catcher, even if that catcher were Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Taylor Teagarden of the Texas Rangers. However, Daniel Bard may be in play for a potential deal with Texas.
  • The Reds, Indians, Pirates and Giants are all in the mix for Ty Wigginton. Back on Dec. 18, we had a Wigginton update in an Odds and Ends post that said the player was not interested in returning to Pittsburgh.

Other topics of note (found on page 5 of Cafardo’s article) include the Tampa Bay Rays’ plan for a DH upgrade, as well as some notes on Derek Lowe and Manny Ramirez.

Alex Walsh can be reached at alexander.walsh@gmail.com.

Tigers Targeting Wood, Putz

6:13pm: Yahoo’s Gordon Edes says the Tigers made overtures to Wood, while the Red Sox like the idea of signing him as a setup man.

4:36pm: Geoff Baker says Tigers prospect Jeff Larish has attracted interest from the Mariners in the past.

On the Kerry Wood topic, a thought – now that the Tigers spent only a million bucks on their shortstop, maybe they have more cash to work with for their closer.

1:29pm: According to Jon Paul Morosi of the Detroit Free Press, the Tigers are targeting Kerry Wood and J.J. Putz for their closer vacancy.  The Mets are also competing for both relievers.

Also, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick notes that the Tigers considered trading for Angels catcher Mike Napoli before they acquired Laird.  The price for Napoli was too high.  WEEI reports that the Tigers also inquired on Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden.  The Tigers decided against Jason Varitek after he was offered arbitration, plus they liked Laird more anyway.  According to WEEI’s Lou Merloni, Varitek continues to seek a multiyear deal and a starting gig. 

Rangers Cutting Payroll?

While not making any drastic reductions, the Rangers may be shedding payroll says Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. This could make available Gerald Laird, Hank Blalock, Kevin Millwood, and Vincente Padilla.

"’I wouldn’t say we’re in cost-cutting mode, but we’re certainly conscious of all our expenditures,’ [GM Jon] Daniels said. ‘We’re going to look at all the ways to improve our club. For the most part, we’ve been focused on trying to add players who fit with our long-term plan. Those are younger players.’ … With more than $51 million committed to seven players and the desire to keep payroll at about the same level as last year ($67 million), some trimming may be necessary."

Rangers GM Jon Daniels said its "reasonable" the Rangers would trade a catcher before Christmas, they have the depth to trade from the position and would prefer to hold onto their younger cheaper options of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden. Says Grant of a possible Laird trade,

"If the Rangers are willing to accept a mid-level minor league pitching prospect, a deal could come together quickly."

Blalock’s $6.2MM option was exercised for 2009 but he’s in a logjam at first base with Chris Davis. His willingness to move back to third actually increases his appeal to other clubs not looking for a first base/designated hitter type.

Millwood and Padilla are due $11MM and $12MM respectively and are entering contract years.

Laird May Be Moving

The Texas Rangers have excess catching, and the Tigers, Reds, and Red Sox are all looking to benefit from that surplus.

T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com has the Tigers and Reds at the top of the list of teams interested in the oldest of Texas’ catchers, Gerald Laird. Laird is arbitration eligible, and therefore the most attractive option for a trade from the Rangers’ perspective. Joshua Roenicke of the Reds and Zach Miner from the Tigers are mentioned as potential trade bait in exchange for Laird.

Sullivan says the Red Sox are more interested in one of Texas’ younger catchers: either Jarrod Saltalamacchia, or Taylor Teagarden. Clay Buchholz would not be included in any deal, but Michael Bowden and Justin Masterson may be available.

In a separate article that followed from a conference call with Texas GM Jon Daniels, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News points out that the Rangers are not in cost cutting mode.  A Laird trade might give that appearance.  Another note from Grant’s article – the Rangers aren’t in on Koji Uehara or Kenshin Kawakami.

Red Sox Rumors: Crisp, Lugo, Burnett, Baldelli

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has the latest on the Red Sox.

  • GM Theo Epstein says there’s one deal he might be able to do before the winter meetings, possibly involving Coco Crisp or Julio Lugo.  The free agent market for center fielders and shortstops is weak this year.
  • Cafardo doesn’t believe the Sox are in on C.C. Sabathia or A.J. Burnett, and he says they’re unsure about Derek Lowe.  However, Buster Olney says "there is an expectation within other quarters of the AL East that the Red Sox will get in on the Burnett bidding."  Cafardo does see Boston adding a starter of some kind, possibly a Japanese free agent.
  • Catchers on Epstein’s radar to varying degrees: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden, Jeff Clement, Bengie Molina, and Ivan Rodriguez.
  • Cafardo says the Red Sox are "more than intrigued" by Rocco Baldelli, who could fill their fourth outfielder role if and when Mark Kotsay leaves.
  • Tony Massarotti discusses Mark Teixeira in-depth at his blog.

Latest Red Sox Rumors

A few notes on the Red Sox…

From Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe

  • Scott Boras met with Theo Epstein about Jason Varitek. Boras is still seeking a deal similar to the one signed by Jorge Posada (four years/$52.4MM).
  • Epstein continues to look at other catchers including Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Taylor Teagarden. Cafardo also notes that the Red Sox could go after a veteran through the trade market like Bengie Molina.
  • Other teams have expressed interest in both Coco Crisp and Julio Lugo, but noted that Lugo would not be part of a deal to the White Sox. Cafardo says the Tigers could be a good match for Lugo if the Red Sox take Nate Robertson or Dontrelle Willis noting they could even eat some of Lugo’s remaining contract.
  • The Red Sox are likely out of the market for CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett.

Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald adds to the Lugo and Crisp rumors.

One executive at the general managers meetings talked to the Sox recently estimated that “five or six” teams have shown a willingness to discuss a deal for Crisp…The line being formed to bid for shortstop Julio Lugo, on the other hand, is not nearly as long – though it isn’t nonexistent.

McAdam lists several teams that could be interested in Crisp, including the White Sox, A’s, Braves and Padres. However, McAdam notes that the Cubs are not interested. He also lists some clubs that could have a need for a player like Lugo, including the Cardinals, Twins, Indians, Tigers, O’s and Giants. McAdam sees the White Sox as the best fit, but notes that they will seek more than Lugo in return for Javier Vazquez or Nick Swisher.

Cork Gaines writes for RaysIndex.com and can be reached here.

Red Sox Rumors: Bay, Tazawa, Kawakami, Lugo

Collecting today’s Red Sox rumors and links…

  • Nick Cafardo says the Red Sox did not meet with C.C. Sabathia‘s agent and he doesn’t appear to be in their plans.
  • The Sox are eyeing southpaw reliever Billy Traber, according to WEEI’s Alex Speier.
  • Scott Boras believes Derek Lowe would be a good fit in Boston or New York.  Nick Cafardo says Lowe would like to return to Boston, maybe even at a slight discount.
  • Jason Bay‘s agents say he’s loving Boston and is open to a contract extension.
  • When asked about the possibility of Manny Ramirez signing with the Yankees, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein basically said it’s not his concern.
  • Otherwise, the theme of Epstein’s comments was flexibility.  Justin Masterson could be a starter or reliever, and Epstein won’t get hung up on acquiring any one player.
  • Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says the Red Sox are heavily involved on Junichi Tazawa, though the Braves and Mariners are after him as well.  The Sox also like Kenshin Kawakami and may have interest in Paul Byrd and Javier Vazquez.
  • Cafardo believes the Mets and White Sox have interest in Julio Lugo.  It would have to be a bad contract swap.  Cafardo adds that the Red Sox view Jacoby Ellsbury as their starting center fielder, and there has been trade interest in Coco Crisp.
  • Boston’s luxury tax threshold for 2009 is $160.5MM.
  • By tomorrow the Red Sox should receive the Jason Varitek book compiled by the Boras corporation.  Boras gave a ridiculous Varitek pitch to the media; click the link for quotes.  Epstein will meet with Boras today to discuss his clients.
  • The Red Sox plan to talk to the Rangers, with Taylor Teagarden, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Gerald Laird as possibilities.  For Teagarden, the Red Sox would probably have to give up Clay Buchholz or Michael Bowden.

Rangers Want Pitcher For Catcher

The Rangers are seeking to deal one of their three catchers – Gerald Laird, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, or Max Ramirez – for pitching, says Evan Grant of the Dallas News. Grant notes that they would still have Taylor Teagarden, who they’re also open to dealing if "the return is great enough."

Grant discusses potential matches in the Giants, Red Sox, Brewers, Reds, and Tigers:

"San Francisco has pitching depth, and the Rangers love the Giants’ arms, but San Francisco has a more pressing need for a corner infielder than a catcher because Bengie Molina is signed for 2009. Getting a pitcher such as Matt Cain might require the Rangers to discuss trading Chris Davis. Boston, Milwaukee and Cincinnati, however, may be the best fits for a catcher-for-pitcher deal. Detroit also needs a catcher, but the Tigers’ system is quite thin at pitcher."

MLBTR discussed this on Friday, including Hank Blalock in the discussion as well as the Rangers’ interest in Scott Olsen.