Eyes on Texas
Rangers at center of many trade talks; news, notes
Posted: Thursday July 26, 2007 10:58AM; Updated: Thursday July 26, 2007 2:29PM
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People familiar with the Mark Teixeira trade talks say the Angels are belying their usual California cool and being "very persistent" in their efforts to land the switch-hitting slugger, who would be the perfect complement to Vladimir Guerrero.
Texas may be able to pry young first baseman Casey Kotchman, perhaps right-hander Ervin Santana and a third big leaguer from Los Angeles of Anaheim for Teixeira. Which sounds like a pretty fair package from here, and word has it that the Angels might offer even more.
Whatever happens there -- and the Braves are also being mentioned as a prominent pursuer -- thankfully, it appears now that the Scott Linebrink trade won't be the highlight of what some figured would be a decidedly dull trading season. After way too much speculation over whether the Padres would trade their setup man, the reliever was finally dealt on Wednesday to the Brewers without an ounce of fanfare.
For now, beyond that we only have rumors, whispers and hype. Here are a few things heard or thought of while wondering why a team that knows pitching like the Padres would trade a bona fide reliever while in a pennant race of their own (answer below):
Stone-faced Angels GM Bill Stoneman went out of character the other day to publicly predict that his team would add an "impact" bat. Sucker that I am, I believe they finally will. Adam Dunn could be a second option, but Teixeira is by far the best choice. Both teams have concerns about trading within the same division but they appear to be getting past that as Texas is focusing on L.A. of Anaheim's big-league talent.
The Rangers are the team to watch, with a half-dozen players to interest contenders. But one thing hampering them is Akinori Otsuka's condition. Otsuka's arm is "barking," according to a friend, and since he's had problems going back to his days in Japan, a lot of folks are speculating now that he may need Tommy John surgery. If that's true, the Rangers better be careful about trading either Joaquin Benoit and Eric Gagne. However, another Rangers person insisted that doctors are identifying Otsuka's problem thus far as "forearm tendinitis," which sounds a little better.
Ron Mahay, Texas will trade, and that's OK.
While Texas has almost no chance to extend Teixeira's contract past 2008, word is that Gagne, who like Teixeira is a client of Scott Boras, is interested in staying to the point where he may consider an extension despite being only two months from free agency. Considering the uncertainty surrounding Otsuka, that might be a wise idea for the Rangers.
Detroit and Cleveland are among the teams interested in Gagne. But there's no way the Tigers trade exciting outfield prospect Cameron Maybin straight up for Gagne.
Meanwhile, the Dallas Morning News on its Web site was portraying the Braves and Dodgers as favorites for Teixeira. The Dodgers definitely have what it takes to land Teixeira but won't trade top pitching prospect Clayton Kershaw or young outfield stud Matt Kemp, may not be all that keen about trading young first baseman James Loney, either, and appeared more interested in pitching help.
Randy Wolf, who has missed most of July with a sore shoulder, has made some recent progress, but L.A., according to one executive, is still focused on pitching. The offense has improved since Bill Mueller took over as hitting coach. Maybe Kemp can provide the power they'd been seeking.
With the Dodgers concerned about closer Takashi Saito, one pitcher who may be on his way to L.A. is a rejuvenated Octavio Dotel, who's also drawing interest from the Indians, Tigers, Red Sox and perhaps the Cubs.