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On the Mark

Texas slugger could spice up summer trade market

Posted: Friday May 25, 2007 10:26AM; Updated: Saturday May 26, 2007 11:24AM
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Mark Teixeira
Mark Teixeira's bat has heated up after a slow start.
Bob Levey/WireImage.com

Also in this column:
• What's next for Giambi?
• Cardinals not giving up
• Bad news for Clint Hurdle
• More news and notes

Baseball executives are predicting that Texas' switch-hitting first baseman Mark Teixeira could be on the trade market this summer. The last-place Rangers, already 9 games out in the AL West, seem to understand that their chances to lock up Teixeira to a long-term deal are extremely slim.

With offense down around baseball, it appears that several teams will be in the market for hitting at the trade deadline, and Teixeira is one name that could really spice up the market. The Dodgers and Angels are two of the most obvious big-market contenders who have been looking for offense, but several more teams will probably join them. With power hitters scarce, a bona fide cleanup man such as Teixeira is an increasingly valuable commodity.

Teixeira, a notorious second-half player (.558 career slugging after the All-Star break vs. .513 before), has overcome an awful start; he was batting .213 with no home runs on April 27 but has hit .375 with eight homers since. Teixeira doesn't have enough service time to control where he ends up, but the growing sense that he may want to play on the East Coast could give the Orioles, Red Sox and Yankees extra incentive to try to trade for him this summer.

The Orioles are considered the most likely landing spot for the Baltimore-area native. Teixeira told me this spring that being an Oriole would be "a dream come true," a comment that undoubtedly excited their star-centric owner Peter Angelos. The Rangers would target young outfielder Nick Markakis in exchange.

The Yankees and Red Sox could also be contenders for Teixeira, who's due to become a free agent after the 2008 season. The Yankees appear to have almost no interest in Todd Helton "He doesn't fit at all what we're trying to do," one Yankees exec said of Helton, who has $85 million remaining on his contract. Yet there's little chance they'd let Teixeira, a young superstar with no negatives who's arbitration eligible next year (his 2007 salary is a reasonable $9.4 million), be dealt without making a play.

Angels seek Glaus, not Giambi

One first-base type (and I use the term "first-base type'' loosely since he's really a DH now) that won't draw any trade interest is Jason Giambi. The Yankees understand that despite rumors, there aren't teams clamoring to commit $40 million to an aging player with issues.

(Besides, if Giambi were to go to Anaheim, as was rumored, that would make his visits to the commissioner's office in New York quite a bit more inconvenient).

The Angels have little need for a designated hitter, anyway. That role may have to be filled by Garret Anderson once he returns from the disabled list in the next few days now that Reggie Willits, who has 18 runs and nine steals in May alone, has provided a spark since taking Anderson's spot in left field. The Angels really need a third baseman, which explains their interest in Colorado's Garrett Atkins (you can never have too many players named Garrett or Garret) and Toronto's Troy Glaus, assuming Glaus is made available by the star-crossed Blue Jays.

Glaus, the real power threat on the Angels' 2002 World Series-winning team (even ahead of the Rally Monkey), only left Anaheim because he sought a big long-term deal, which he got from Arizona, and the Angels were ready at the time to give third base to prospect Dallas McPherson, who is turning out to be among the more brittle players in recent memory.


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