Rangers GM Jon Daniels has yet to make a deal, and Tuesday's 3:00 PM trade deadline now looms just over 114 hours away. At this point, it's not a question of whether the hammer's going to drop or not, but when.
Lots of trade talk out there today, and obviously, most of that is centered around Mark Teixeira. SI.com's Jon Heyman reported this afternoon that the Angels are being "very persistent" in their quest to land Teixeira, with Heyman suggesting that Angels GM Bill Stoneman could give up first baseman Casey Kotchman, right-hander Ervin Santana and a third major league player, with the possibility of the package becoming even more valuable.
Heyman also doesn't think that the Dodgers are terribly serious about trading for Teixeira, as he says they won't deal Clayton Kershaw or outfielder Matt Kemp, and aren't too excited about dealing James Loney, either. Tonight's latest developments would seem to back up the idea that the Dodgers are falling out of the Teixeira sweepstakes - more on that in a moment.
On the reliever trade front, Heyman says that Eric Gagne is so interested in staying in Texas that he may consider a contract extension, despite being two months away from free agency. As I've said before, the idea of giving Gagne a multi-year contract extension scares the heck out of me, but there's also a new development which could make retaining Gagne more important:
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.
Finally, Heyman says that Jon Daniels will almost certainly deal left-hander Ron Mahay, but he also infers that Daniels' asking price on Eric Gagne is very high, suggesting that Daniels is asking for top Tigers outfield prospect Cameron Maybin straight up for Gagne. Perhaps, too high.
T.R. Sullivan offers some rather significant updates of his own in tonight's latest article, saying that the Angels and Braves are the front-runners for Teixeira at the moment, with an anonymous source stating that both teams have made "strong offers." Both packages would obviously include either Kotchman or Saltalamacchia. Perhaps the most important development is that the Red Sox and Dodgers have apparently faded from the Teixeira sweepstakes - for now, at least.
Sullivan also notes that the Braves want a left-handed reliever as well, but that Texas is unwilling to give up C.J. Wilson, and would likely send Ron Mahay to Atlanta instead. There's also an update on Otsuka, who is being sent to Los Angeles to be examined by famous orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Lewis Yocum. However, this news isn't as bleak as it first sounds:
"More than anything, it's just for peace of mind," Daniels said. "He's been checked out here and we've been assured that it's tendinitis. We want to get him checked out, get some good news and get him back on the mound."
Daniels rejected the idea that Otsuka might need Tommy John surgery, which is sort of reassuring, I guess. Sullivan says that the Indians are showing the most interest in Kenny Lofton, although according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer earlier today, Indians GM Mark Shapiro feels Daniels is asking for too much. Joaquin Benoit is attracting interest as well, but the Rangers are apparently reluctant to deal Benoit with Otsuka's status up in the air.
Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reported earlier today that the Yankees have no intentions of dealing top pitching prospects Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy or Philip Hughes. Feinsand also quotes "multiple sources" who believe Teixeira will still be in a Rangers uniform come August 1st, due to Daniels' huge trade demands.
ESPN's Keith Law fielded a question earlier today concerning the potential Saltalamacchia/Teixeira deal:
Shar (Durham): Your thoughts on the Teixeira/Salty deal? Is it worth it to give up Salty, Davies/Harrison, and Andrus for Tex and a lefty reliever??
Keith Law: It's a very win-now move for Atlanta. I think Texas gets more value in that deal if Harrison is the arm. Now, I say that as someone who thinks Saltalamacchia (sal-tuh-luh-MAK-ee-uh) won't stay behind the plate because of his size. If I'm wrong and he does end up a catcher, it's a heist for Texas.
Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus included this curious note earlier today in his rumor mill update:
One possibility is trying to follow on the rumored Rangers-Braves deal--if the Rangers get Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the Cubs have asked their scouts for an opinion on Gerald Laird.
MLB.com's Drew Davison has a great piece on Oklahoma's Jason Botts, and how he's biding his time waiting for a promotion. There's absolutely no news out there on a possible Sosa deal, so I'll be curious to see how Jon Daniels handles this situation. It's absolutely critical that the Rangers find a way to give Botts regular at-bats at the major league level over the final two months of the season.
Finally, Dave Sessions of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram wrote about Teixeira possibly playing his final home game in Arlington last night:
There were no farewell banners, sappy video highlights or heartfelt waves, but Mark Teixeira might have played his last home game at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Wednesday night.
I hate to rain on your parade Dave, but there was a fairly large banner just to the left of Greene's Hill, draped over the guardrail, which said something to the effect of "We'll miss you Mark!"
6,868 minutes and counting to the trade deadline. Stay tuned.
Friday, July 27th Game Preview
Texas Rangers (46-56) at Kansas City Royals (44-57)
Jamey Wright (3-2, 4.15 ERA) vs. Brian Bannister (6-6, 3.68 ERA)
7:10 PM CST in Kansas City, Missouri (Kauffman Stadium)
TV: FSNSW | Radio: KRLD 1080 AM