Taylor Teagarden Rumors
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.
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.
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.
A few notes on the Red Sox...
- 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.
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.
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."
According to Peter Gammons, the Red Sox are in on Rangers catcher Taylor Teagarden. The Rangers have the game's best catching surplus, and it's resulting in plenty of inquiries.
Teagarden, 24, is hitting .234/.348/.404 in 53 Triple A games. He's dealt with elbow soreness in the past, but he's healthy now.