Just over 48 hours until the trade deadline.
First thing's first - T.R. Sullivan has a nice recap of the various trade scenarios on "Postcards from Elysian Fields:"
Arizona: The Diamondbacks have won eight straight and are putting the pressure on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Word is the Rangers are all over their Double A team in Mobile. Some of the better pitchers in their system are Brett Anderson, Matthew Green, Esmerling Valdez, Greg Smith and Max Scherzer, who is probably unavailable. Their best prospect is outfielder Justin Upton but they also have Carlos Gonzalez.
Atlanta: The Braves are willing to do first baseman Jarrod Saltalamacchia, pitcher Matt Harrison and 18-year-old shortstop Elvis Andrus. The Rangers apparently aren't satisfied with that package and seem to be holding out for more.
Anaheim: Angels owner Arte Moreno wanted to make a big splash last off-season and wasn't quite able to do it. He might be the force behind the Angels pursuit of Teixeira. General manager Bill Stoneman is usually more reluctant to make such a splurge.
Los Angeles: The Dodgers have the most desirable young talent, starting with first baseman James Loney and outfielder Andre Either. The Rangers would love to get their hands on Minor League pitcher Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers seem divided in their approach to the deadline.
I guess Anaheim hasn't backed out of the Teixeira sweepstakes, after all.
The DMN's Evan Grant has a good but lengthy analysis of the possible trade scenarios over at the DMN Seam Heads blog. Quick summary: Grant's wary of the Atlanta offer, and mentions that he's received an e-mail that states Matt Harrison may have a "left arm problem," but that he can't confirm it.
Grant also likes Anaheim's offer, and thinks the Rangers should ask for Reggie Willits as the third player. Willits can certainly reach base at a strong clip (.306/.402/.363 in 278 AB), but he's played mostly at the corner outfield spots for Anaheim this year, and has virtually no power. Am I alone in thinking Willits is somewhat overrated? Finally, Grant thinks the Dodgers could be pushed to include left-hander Clayton Kershaw in a package consisting of James Loney and Andre Ethier.
Ken Rosenthal's latest update on Teixeira indicates the Diamondbacks have not made as strong an offer as either the Braves or Angels, with Rosenthal confirming that Conor Jackson would be a part of any deal consummated. However, Double-A outfielder Justin Upton, who may be the best prospect in baseball, would not.
Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune says that Jon Daniels is having constant discussions with no less than five teams concerning Teixeira - Anaheim, Atlanta, Arizona, Los Angeles and perhaps Boston? He also says that Jon Daniels appears to be insisting for Clayton Kershaw to be included in a Dodgers deal.
Finally, Baseball Prospectus's Will Carroll includes this brief note in BP's Sunday "Rumor Mill" segment:
The Rangers also have a couple of small deals in the works, but none seem to be particularly close. Most instead seem to be the types of deals that would fall into place if Teixeira is dealt.
I have a feeling this may be referring to a possible Laird-to-Cubs trade, which would be triggered only if the Rangers acquired Salty from Atlanta and decided to plug him in at catcher.
There's something I'd like to touch on concerning Salty's future position with the Rangers, if Daniels decides to take the Braves offer. BP's Kevin Goldstein has a new article out today which takes a look at the offensive differences between each defensive position. Using OPS as his measure, Goldstein compiled the statistics for the 30 players at each position with the most starts at that position over the last three seasons, in an effort to eliminate outliers such as part-time players and injuries.
Goldstein's analysis proved something I had been wondering about lately; if moved to first base from catcher, Salty would obviously lose a fair amount of offensive value. But just how much? Well, I'll let this brief snippet from Goldstein's OPS chart tell the story:
POS BAD AVG GOOD ELITEC 666 748 826 853
1B 758 858 952 987
Let's assume for a moment that Salty's 2008 PECOTA projections (which tag him at .268/.352/.466) hold true, and that's what he's actually going to hit next year. While those numbers would make Salty a very good offensive catcher, he would be a well below-average offensive first baseman. I think Jon Daniels realizes this, and that's why I'm starting to believe that the odds of Gerald Laird being dealt in the next two days are much higher than I originally gave credit for.
In other news, the Rangers are down 4-0 to the Royals, and are in danger of being swept by Kansas City. Sigh.
And don't look now, but since returning from the disabled list, Mark Teixeira has compiled just an .810 OPS. He hasn't homered since July 15th.
Just something to keep in mind.