Trade Winds: Teixeira out of Texas?
Boston appears to be frontrunner to land first baseman
With less than a week to go until the trade deadline, it's looking more and more as though Mark Teixeira's days as a Ranger are numbered in single digits.
According to multiple Major League sources, trade talks centering on the Texas first baseman have intensified in the last 24 hours.
Though six teams -- the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and San Francisco Giants -- were among the clubs most active in their pursuit of Teixeira, as of midday on Tuesday, is appears that the Yankees and the three California teams, while not completely dropping out of the picture, are not in the forefront, either.
The Dodgers appear to have turned their focus on pitching. The Yankees are interested, but have been unwilling to part with their best young pitchers. The Giants have also stepped back after considering the price for Teixeira. And the Angels, after shipping right-hander Ervin Santana to the Minor Leagues, do not appear to be a trade match with the Rangers.
The Red Sox have been holding on to their young pitchers, but with the Yankees gaining ground in the American League East, the winning return of Jon Lester on Monday night and the expected return of Curt Schilling next week, they may be in a better position to part with some arms.
The Rangers have scouted a number of Boston's Major League and Minor League pitchers recently, including Lester, left-hander Kason Gabbard, Triple-A right-hander Clay Buchholz and Double-A right-hander Michael Bowden.
The Braves are balking at requests for catcher/first baseman Jarrod Saltalamacchia or shortstop Yunel Escobar. In any case, the Rangers are more likely to want Major League-ready pitching in any deal for Teixeira.
That might seem to make the Red Sox the front runners to land Teixeira, but with just days to go, predicting Teixeira's destination is a dicey proposition.
"Boston could have pulled the trigger already, but they haven't," said one source. "They could decide to go with what they've got."
Elsewhere on the trade front on Tuesday:
A's: The A's continue to be an active team, making a move prior to Monday's game with Anaheim that would indicate a trade is forthcoming. The Athletics designated outfielder Bobby Kielty for assignment, which means that he may be traded soon, and there are whispers that the Red Sox are interested in the switch-hitting outfielder. The A's are also listening to offers on left-handed reliever Joe Kennedy, and three National League teams -- the Dodgers, Brewers and Phillies -- appear to be interested.
Blue Jays, Pirates: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has reported that the Pirates and Blue Jays are talking about a trade involving shortstop Jack Wilson. The Bucs inquired about the availability of Troy Glaus but were rebuked. The Post-Gazette also reported that the Blue Jays would be more interested in acquiring Wilson during the offseason instead of before the trade deadline.
But Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi put to rest any rumors that Toronto might be interested in Wilson.
"We have no interest in Jack Wilson," Ricciardi told MLB.com. "Absolutely no interest in Jack Wilson. None. I have [a] Jack Wilson. I have John McDonald."
McDonald is a light-hitting, good defensive player.
Ricciardi didn't deny, however, that right-hander Josh Towers could be shopped. On Saturday, Phillies officials were on hand to watch Toronto's game against the Mariners, and it's rumored that they were monitoring Towers closely.
Braves: The Braves and White Sox may have discussed a trade that would send shortstop Edgar Renteria to Chicago in exchange for starting pitcher Jon Garland. The move would be made in order to give Atlanta rookie Yunel Escobar the everyday job at shortstop and make Kelly Johnson once again the full-time second baseman. Garland, 7-7 with a 4.15 ERA, is making $10 million this season and is due $12 million is 2008.
Brewers: GM Doug Melvin would like to bolster the Milwaukee bullpen, but there is not much out there.
"I made some calls today, and if a player is available, they have to get a lot back for them," Melvin said. "They have to have Major League-ready players. And some of the names that are out there on the rumor mill are not even available."
If players are available, Melvin said, teams typically are asking for young, Major League-ready position players. Because the Brewers have so many of those already in the big leagues, they are not in a great position to deal.
Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio reiterated over the weekend at Miller Park that he is willing to add payroll if the right trade presents itself. But that has yet to happen, he said.
"One team actually called and said, 'We like [Yovani] Gallardo and [Ryan] Braun,' " Attanasio said with a laugh. "Well, we like them, too. Last year we had a GM call Doug, and in return for one of their Triple-A players, they asked for Prince [Fielder]. I mean, we're just not going to do that."
Devil Rays: The St. Petersburg Times reported on Tuesday that the Rays were not looking to dump a higher-salaried player, as they had in seasons past, but instead were looking to spend a little extra money on a significant name should the opportunity present itself. Yankees reliever Scott Proctor was mentioned as a possibility.
Dodgers: The Dodgers are the front runners for Royals closer Octavio Dotel, the Kansas City Star reported on Tuesday. The Dodgers rebuffed interest in second baseman Tony Abreu, believed to be the Royals' top preference, because they view Abreu as a long-term replacement for Jeff Kent. A possible alternative is shortstop Chin-Lung Hu, who is batting .349 with nine homers and 46 RBIs in 92 games this season at Triple-A Las Vegas and Double-A Jacksonville. The Dodgers, however, are reluctant to deal Hu.
Indians: The Indians, along with the Dodgers, look to be the most interested in Dotel. From the Tribe, the Royals appear bent on receiving either Franklin Gutierrez or Ben Francisco, two of the Indians' top outfield prospects.
Marlins: GM Larry Beinfest told reporters on Monday that the Marlins shouldn't be expected to make any blockbuster moves before the deadline. Beinfest said that the impending return of the injured Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco would likely be Florida's biggest roster moves.
Mets: If the Mets decide to pursue a second baseman to replace the injured Jose Valentin, the options are overwhelming. Houston's Mark Loretta is high on New York's wish list, but the Mets could also make a run at Tampa Bay's Jorge Cantu or Ty Wigginton, Arizona's Orlando Hudson, San Francisco's Ray Durham or Kansas City's Mark Grudzielanek. As for starting pitching, the Mets are still looking to swing a deal, but little has surfaced outside talks for Jose Contreras, and, more recently, innings-eater Livan Hernandez.
Phillies: The Phillies, like many teams, are on the lookout for starting pitching. But GM Pat Gillick told the Philadelphia Daily News that teams' asking prices have been "astronomical." The Phillies' most significant deadline move, then, may be getting their bullpen back. Closer Brett Myers could join the team later this week after a rehab assignment in Clearwater, Fla.
Red Sox: Boston reserve Wily Mo Pena, who has struck out 53 times in 129 at-bats this year, is headed out, but the Red Sox would likely not move him without first securing a deal for a right-handed outfield bat to replace him. Kielty is a potential target.
Nationals: Citing that they love his work ethic and production on the field, the Nationals signed infielder Ronnie Belliard to a two-year, $3.5 million extension. The move means that Belliard, who makes $750,000 -- plus incentives -- this year, will not be traded at the deadline and will be part of the Nationals when they play in their new ballpark in 2008.
Asked if the signing of Belliard meant that the Nationals were trying to keep Dmitri Young, all GM Jim Bowden would say was, "We would love to have Dmitri here."
Bowden wouldn't comment any further on Young, but added, "There's a possibility we don't make any trades between now and the deadline."
Rumors of a possible trade that would send Cincinnati's Adam Dunn to Washington were dismissed by sources from both sides.
Twins: GM Terry Ryan didn't deny his interest in Young when asked about it on a local radio station on Sunday, saying that there were somewhere around 15 hitters he's interested in. Young is currently second in the National League batting race, with a .340 average, and was specifically mentioned by Torii Hunter as someone he'd like to see join the Twins' lineup.
White Sox: GM Ken Williams remains adamant that the White Sox are looking to add a piece for a championship run, but at 16 1/2 games behind the Tigers in the AL Central, a late push looks unlikely. Contreras and Jermaine Dye remain the hottest names on the market for the White Sox. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Mariners, Mets and Dodgers have been scouting the White Sox the hardest in recent games, while the Chicago Tribune noted that there were scouts from six teams at U.S Cellular Field on Monday.
Yankees: With the White Sox looking to deal, the Yankees have shown interest in Garland and left-handed reliever Matt Thornton, according to the New York Post. The other trading chips dangled by Chicago, Contreras and Javier Vazquez, don't appeal as much to the Yankees, the report stated.
Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.