The hunt is on
Teixeira more likely to be moved as offers sweeten
Posted: Tuesday July 24, 2007 11:45AM; Updated: Wednesday July 25, 2007 12:33PM
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It shouldn't be a surprise that Mark Teixeira has a good chance to be traded now.
In spring training, Teixeira, a Maryland native, called the idea of playing for the Orioles "a dream come true."
A couple months later, he butted heads with the Rangers' new manager, Ron Washington, over taking pitches late in games. The issue came to the fore when Teixeira either ignored or missed a sign to take a pitch, and Washington threatened to fine him.
All along, the Rangers knew they'd have an uphill battle to sign him to a long-term extension before he's due for free agency after next season.
Now, with underachieving Texas in last place and Teixeira a year and a half from free agency, the team is talking seriously to other clubs about the former all-star, Silver Slugger and Gold Glove winner. According to some competing general managers, Rangers GM Jon Daniels is saying the offers for Teixeira, who's batting .302 with 13 homers and 47 RBIs, are starting to improve to the point where a trade is very possible. That shouldn't be a shock. Teixeira is that rare prototype, cleanup hitter that contending teams seek.
Texas' surprisingly poor showing has put extra pressure on Daniels to make a perfect deal. But the guess here is, despite a recent premium put on Grade-A prospects (the White Sox found no one willing to surrender any for Mark Buehrle, for instance), Daniels gets it done.
It's a tough call to trade him since keeping Teixeira would give Texas a better shot to win next year than they would have without him. However, he's hitting well and his value is enhanced since an acquiring team would have the chance to keep him through the end of next season. Interested parties could therefore include some non-contenders and surprises. Next year he transforms into a "rental" player. Texas seeks two top major-league ready players, most likely pitchers, outfielders and/or someone to replace Teixeira at first base.
Here's a rundown of the teams that are believed to have shown the most interest:
Dodgers. GM Ned Colletti has sought additional power for months and has to decide whether to surrender touted first-base prospect James Loney. The Rangers surely would want top-pitching prospect Clayton Kershaw (who happens to be from Dallas), but L.A. would be unlikely to let him go. The Dodgers do have other prospects to deal, and Colletti showed last summer he isn't afraid to shake things up.
Angels. Like their geographic rival 45 minutes up Interstate-5, they also have young players to dangle, including a first-base replacement in Casey Kotchman. However, one competing GM, knowing their recent history, speculated, "I doubt [Angels GM Bill Stoneman] will pull the trigger on anything.'' Stoneman's past does suggest he'll stand pat, although he apparently was willing to make a trade for Miguel Tejada before Orioles owner Peter Angelos killed it. But the Angels, whose lead over the Mariners in the AL West is a mere two games, should know this much: They could be one cleanup hitter from being a World Series favorite.
Orioles. They'd probably consider surrendering talented, underachieving Daniel Cabrera and might well have the makings of a deal. Plus, their chances to keep Teixeira beyond '08 are enhanced by his personal preference to play at home. However, there's scuttlebutt that new club president Andy MacPhail is hesitant to recommend such a large long-term expenditure.
Red Sox. They have young pitchers that would interest Texas, such as Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester, whose return Monday after battling cancer was emotional and successful. The comeback from cancer might also have served as a showcase, according to reports. The Sox also have top outfield prospect Jacoby Ellsbury.
Yankees. The Yanks have said they won't trade any of their top pitching prospects, including Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy or Alan Horne, so they look like a long shot.
Tigers. It's doubtful they'd part with top young pitcher Andrew Miller or big-time outfield prospect Cameron Maybin. First baseman Sean Casey hasn't delivered much power, but Detroit doesn't appear to be heavily in the mix.
Braves. Everyone loves Jarrod Saltalamacchia (but presumably Atlanta does too), and the Braves also have shortstop prospect Yunel Escobar, who isn't really needed in Texas, which has Michael Young signed through eternity. Perhaps the Braves would like to give it their best shot in what may be the last year for Andruw Jones, but they appear to need a starting pitcher more than a first baseman.
Giants. They were mentioned earlier. But perhaps that was before they fell out of the race. Besides, they couldn't think of dealing Tim Lincecum or Matt Cain, and they have no positional prospects to trade.