Category Archives: Los Angeles Dodgers

Gagne Trade Next on the Rangers’ List of Things to Stink Up?

They’ve stunk up the AL West. They’ve stunk up a trade for Kenny Lofton. And they’ve somehow managed to really stink up the trade for Mark Teixeira. What’s next for Little Jon DanielsHart and Tom Hicks?

Eric Gagne, come on down! You’re the next Rangers trade chip on The Price is Wrong!

Talk has picked up surrounding Gagne with rumors involving the Yankees, Angels and Mets (three teams not on Gagne’s limited no-trade list) as well as the Red Sox and Indians (who are on the list) and the Dodgers and Mariners (whom no one seems to know if they’re on the list or not).

After Jon Daniels gave away Lofton and Teixeira for far less than any competent GM should have been able to get, the sharks are circiling. If I were a GM of a contending team with A or AA prospects, I’d be calling JD with all kinds of low-ball offers now (for Gagne, Benoit, Laird, Millwood, Wright) as he suddenly seems enamored with ultra-young prospects full of question marks. 

But they better strike fast, because Jon Daniels shouldn’t have a job for too much longer!

Teixeira to Go to the Braves (or Angels… or Diamondbacks… or Dodgers… or last minute entrant)?

Just more than 32 hours left until the non-waivers trade deadline at 3p EDT tomorrow, and it’s still anyone’s guess as to where Mark Teixeira will go and for whom in return.  Based on various reports across the Internet and TV, here’s how things look at this point (with the contenders listed from most to least likely to grab Teixeira):

1. Atlanta Braves (40% likely) – Local media in Atlanta are reporting the deal as all but done. The deal appears to be Catcher-Firstbaseman Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Matt Harrison. A sticking point is whether the Braves will also give up Elvis Andrus or Brent Lillibridge in addition to Salty without getting a mid-reliever (they’ve been asking for C.J. Wilson but would take less).

I’m not jazzed at all about this trade as rumored. It’s way too light on pitching in return. I’ve said it dozens of times, and I’ll say it dozens more unless I’m proven wrong. The Rangers can’t develop top-of-the-rotation pitching, they can’t get top free-agent pitchers to sign up to play in The Ballpark, so they’re only real hope to develop a rotation that is championship caliber is to TRADE FOR PITCHING. Teixeira is the last best hope on the radar for the Rangers to acquire stand-out pitching in a trade, and this deal doesn’t do that. 

Harrison is pure prospect. A 21-yo Lefty at AA with a losing record. That’s not going to get the Rangers the rotation they need by ’09, which should be their target for contending.

Salty is over-rated in my book. Sorry. He skipped AAA – in my view rushed to the majors to increase his trade value. He’s done alright in 47 games for the Braves, but he’s not blowing anyone away (.284 avg, .744 ops with 4 HRs). He may be pretty good some day, but that’s a gamble. And for Tex, the Rangers should get a sure thing, not a “we think maybe.” Plus, spelling the guy’s name is a chore!

Elvis is an 18-yo Venezuelan SS playing A ball – and not hitting all that well yet (.241 avg, .659 ops. with 3 HRs in 98 games). If the Rangers are wanting to find Young’s replacement for 2014, I suggest the draft in around 2010 is a more appropriate opportunity.  

Brent Lillibridge is 23 at AAA, but also a SS who’s hitting so far is mediocre (.283 avg., .757 ops with 5 HRs in 52 games).

If the trade goes down Tex for Salty and Harrison, I’d give it an F.  If it goes Tex for Salty, Harrison and Elvis or Lillibridge, it’s a D-. And if the Rangers throw in even Mahay (much less Benoit or Wilson) to get three of those guys, it’s a surefire job-losing F- for Daniels. 

2. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (30% likely) – I really hope this is the deal that Little Jon Daniels and Tom Hicks are holding out for.  Word has it that 26-yo Lefty SP Joe Saunders and 24-yo lefty 1b Casey Kotchman are already on the table. Compared to the Atlanta deal, just those two (who are major-league tested) represent a better deal that what the Braves are offering. Plus, there’s been rumors that the Angels may add a third prospect (names vary) to the deal.

Saunders is in his third partial season at the major-league level, and he’s a proven winner in the AL West whose improved every year (11-3 lifetime in the bigs, with a 4-0 record and 3.16 era in 7 starts this season). That would immediately put him ahead of everyone but Millwood on the Rangers starting rotation (and yes, I’m saying he’d be ahead of Padilla – right now). 

Kotchman is hitting well and judging by his road numbers and the fact that lefties love the Ballpark, his numbers would get a quick boost as a Ranger (currently hitting .300 with an .858 ops in 89 games).

Tex straight up for those two would be a B++ trade in my book, and if JD gets any other prospect worth anything at all added in, make it an A+!

3. Arizona Diamondbacks (20% likely) – late entrants whose name popped up publically for the first time just this Saturday, Arizona will have to poney up value fast. But what they may be offering is more cloudy than other teams’ probable offers. 

Grade if it happens: incomplete.  Still too many unknowns here, but things could get interesting.  Again, the pitching offered should be the key.

4. Not-Currently-Suspected Darkhorse (7% likely) –  the Yankees losing ways probably killed the chances of them or the Red Sox trading for Tex. But after a trouncing sweep this weekend by the Angels and Cleveland not cooling off, I still won’t be shocked if the Tigers make a last minute play. But since the Mets, Brewers, Cardinals, Phillies, Indians and Twins all have 1b well manned, that leaves only the Mariners as a current contender who could use Teixera’s services but haven’t been heard from. So a last-minute late entrant looks very unlikely.

5. Los Angeles Dodgers (3% likely) – a month ago, as Nomar was being moved to third, and Loney and Billinglsly were still human, this looked like the deal to do. But injuries to the Dodgers rotation have shifted there priorities, just as Loney’s performance has shifted there view of their needs while Billingsly has pitched himself into the untouchable range.

Updates to follow as more is learned. 

All Too Quiet on the Teixeira Front

Silent but deadly. Deadly silent.

Things that keep popping into mind as I trove the major league news sites and cable channels listening for any movement on the Teixeira front. 

Just a few days ago, you couldn’t read a single site or story about the trade deadline without Teixeira’s name in the first few paragraphs – if not the headline.

Now, there’s rumors that a deal with the Braves (a deal I didn’t like the sounds of) is falling apart. The Dodgers have bowed out of the race as they suddenly need pitching; I’ll always wonder if Billingsly and Loney was possible back in June before Tex got hurt(sure seemed like it when Nomar was moved to third). The Yankees and Red Sox seem to have backed away, as did the Tigers long ago. No news on the Angels.

Can Little Jon DanielsHart pull a rabit out of his hat? In my book, he needs to – or it should be his job.

And, what’s the latest on getting something for Gagne, Benoit or even Laird?  Too quiet. Much too quiet!

Scaring me. We’ve got to get a pitcher for Tex – and the time is now.

Today’s Leaders in the Teixeira Trade Sweepstakes: The Atlanta Braves?

Continued kudos to Jon Daniels. If his apparently improved ability to spark buzz about a player is a reflection on his maturation as a GM, then maybe there is hope after all that he will orchestrate a trade for Teixeira that provides a good return for the Rangers.

I’m loving all this!  Every day this week it seems like a different team is reportedly the “favorite” to get Tex.  Meanwhile, reports consistently state that the Rangers are asking for a lot.  Great!  They should!  Tex is the biggest offensive sparkplug on the market this season (and a bonified Gold Glover to boot) when several contenders need a boost to their offense.  For several of the interested teams, Mark Teixeira could truly be the piece that completes their championship season puzzle.

(I still think the Tigers lead that list and could be risking one, maybe even two World Championships if they stand pat.  They would be pohibitive favorites this year and next if they grabbed Tex and Benoit for Casey (whose average has improved but power is still lacking but would thrive in Rangers Ballpark in his free agent season in ’09), Andrew Miller, another starting prospect (Dallas Trahern or Plano’s own Jordan Tata would be my pick), and two outfield prospects (Ryan Raburn and a low prospect would do – it doesn’t have to be Cameron Maybin) .

Yesterday’s reports had the Red Sox as the leading trade partner (which seems a real stretch), and this looks to be the Braves’ day.  They’re getting next to zero production at first base.  And I’ll always take a pitching product of the Braves system (in fact, I’ve often believed that if a team like the Braves who seem to crank out pitchers at will partnered with the Rangers who have done the same with hitters, the two would be great trading partners and could plan several World Series meetings).  Right now, the Braves’ pitching prospects are not overly tantalizing.  RHP Manny Acosta may be the best of their bunch, but he’s not yet established at the major-league level.  The rest are not impressive statistically and are not ready to make a near-term impact at the major leagues.  They have upside, but no more than McCarthy, Loe, Rheinecker, Hurley, Wood and other guys already in the Rangers’ system.  For the Teixeira trade to be a success, it must include a starting pitcher who is as sure a bet as can be to be a top-of-the-rotation winner.  I don’t see that sureness in what the Braves can offer.

At this point, I still think the Dodgers or Yankees are the best fit, but we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Will a Teixeira Trade Help the Red Sox Win the Series?

Heading into the home stretch of the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes, and all reports sound like Jon Daniels has done a good job of whipping up interest amongst the biggest players in MLB – the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels and Braves.

Of note, the Ranger-killing Yankees deserve a lot of credit for fanning the flames of interest in Tex.  Had they not turned things around in dramatic fashion in recent weeks, they probably wouldn’t still be interested in Teixeira, and neither would the Red Sox.  But with another classic Red Sox – Yankees chase gearing up, both teams could use the boost Teixeira offers.

As of today, the leading candidate is reported to be the Red Sox, which is confounding.  The Red Sox need outfield production.  Their infield has been producing well, so I wonder how they’d shuffle up to fit Tex in.

Meanwhile, lefty starter Kason Gabbard would be a great pick up for the Rangers.  The Rangers need a lefty-starter who’s major-league proven but young. Gabbard is 25 and has shown consistent improvement this year, posting a 3-0 mark (1 win vs. Texas) with a 1.93 era in 4 starts in July, including a complete game, 3-hit shut-out of KC.  I like the way this guy looks. Jon Lester has also been mentioned, but my gut tells me the Red Sox will hang on to him (and his inspiring story).  

A pairing of either promising prospect Clay Buchholz (AAA Pawtucket) or Michael Bowden (AA Portland) with Gabbard and throw-in 1B Jeff Bailey to man first until Nate Gold or Kevin West (both of whom have been getting plenty of at-bats in Oklahoma, which is another sign that the Rangers will be doing the smart thing and moving Tex now) are ready, and the Rangers would have a great deal while the Red Sox would have some extra might to stay ahead of the Yanks and likely be able to challenge the Tigers in the post-season this year and next (which is great as those are my 2nd and 3rd favorite teams).

The wrinkle here could be that the Red Sox are on a 5-game winning streak.  The Yankees are still hot, but despite going 8-2 in their last 10, are still 8 games back. The thred on which this opportunity may dangle could be how the Red Sox do at Cleveland and Tampa in their next five games before a day off on Monday to contemplate their situation on the eve of the non-waiver trade deadline.

Mark Teixeira Trade Rumors – Yankees (Red Sox, Braves, Angels, Dodgers) Getting Serious?

Local ESPN radio hosts mentioned that rumors are flying all over the place that as the Yankees may not be dead yet, Cashman is getting more serious about getting a firstbaseman. And as the Rangers and Yankees have been scouting each other for a while for reasons ranging from Bullpen help to possibly Sammy Sosa, they’ve gotten to know each other’s talent pretty well. And while the Yankees were on the sellers-buyers fence at the All-Star break, they’re pulling their typical post-break magic and are suddenly above .500, in 2nd place and only 8 behind Boston. They’ll be buying this month!

In the meantime, rumors have also started circling that the Red Sox may grab Teixeira.  That sounds far fetched to me.  As do rumors about a possible trade with the Ranger-killing Angels.

But, there are substantiated rumors that the Dodgers are interested.  And suddenly the Braves have been mentioned to be in the mix.

Hmmmm.  Has Little Jon DanielsHart finally gotten smart?  The richest teams in baseball are suddenly rumored to be interested in Tex?  That’s every GMs goal when they’re shopping a player, with a Yankees-Red Sox bidding war being a GM’s dream!

Or is more likely that Tex has told Scott Boras what he wants, and they’re not sitting around waiting for Hicks and Daniels to screw things up by their incompetence when it comes to generating buzz and “selling” a player?

Either way, these kinds are rumors are great news for the Rangers, as Tex talk had gotten too quiet for a while. 

Certainly, coming back from the DL red hot in his first 4 games helped. But going hitless since won’t help. If Teixeira really does want to go play for a winner now, he needs to stay consistent. But the multi-million question remains – can DanielsHart finally orchestrate a trade that helps his club more than the team he trades with.  Or will Cashman or John Schuerholz or Theo Epstein give Hicks and DanielsHart another schooling like Cashman, Doug Melvin, Kevin Towers and Jim Bowden already have in recent years?

Robbers Evidence: Bye Bye Buehrle

In several previous posts, I’ve mentioned how Mark Buerhle could have already been a Ranger(https://rangersorrobbers.wordpress.com/2007/04/19/robbers-evidence-exhibit-a-revisited-no-buerhle-no-no/) and should be the free agent pitcher the Rangers sign this winter (https://rangersorrobbers.wordpress.com/2007/06/27/announcing-the-2008-texas-rangers-25-man-roster-2/).

Well, all that’s a pipe dream now as the White Sox resigned Mark Buehrle to a 4-year, $54 million contract

That narrows the field of starting pitchers the Rangers should consider signing this winter (Buehrle topped my list, and I think only Carlos Zambrano could be argued to be a better signing amongst the would-be class of winter free agents).

And without a single starter with a winning record or an ERA under 5.30 going into this week’s All-Star break, a shrinking free=agent pool increases the pressure on Ron Washington and pitching coach Mark Connor to develop at least one (if not two) of the young or trying-to-comeback Rangers pitchers into a contributing starter who can win more games than he loses (in order of liklihood at present:  Loe, McCarthy, Wright, Tejeda, Hurley, Wood, Koronka, Rheinecker, Rupe).  It also makes the return to form of Millwood and Padilla more important, because the caliber of free-agent starter the Rangers can sign this winter just went down unless they ink Zambrano, which I don’t think is likely nor do I think he’d be worth the price as he’s not a great fit for the Rangers or The Ballpark.  That probably means Millwood will be the Opening Day starter again, and he’s really a #2 at best.  Finally, it puts more importance on Jon DanielsHart and Hicks getting a trade done (and done well) with Teixeira – as Tex is the only chip they have left to acquire a pitcher with top-of-the-rotation talent (Chad Billingsly is looking really nice at this point – maybe too nice for the Dodgers to part with after going 1-0 in 2 July starts with a 2.25 era and 14 Ks in 12 IP). 

So congratulations to Buehrle and the White Sox, and to Tom Hicks, the Rangers front office and coaching staff and their pitchers aspiring to be worth a spot in a competitive major league rotation:  TIME TO GET ROLLING!