UPDATE: What Next for Teixeira Losers?
There have already been some solid suggestions below and notable omissions on my part, for sure. Guess that will happen when blogging in an airport on three hours sleep. Regardless, the most notable, perhaps not surprisingly given his admirable fandom, come from jca, who pointed out two very salient factors in the Red Sox's post-Teixeira approach: 1) their biggest need is a catcher, and they're likely to structure any initial big move around that (as opposed to making a run at Peavy first) and 2) they've already been poking around both Arizona's Miguel Montero and, more significantly, both of Texas's young catchers -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden.
But there's a catch: With Montero, the Diamondbacks are insisting that Boston eat the final year of outfielder Eric Byrnes' contract (which is beyond steep), and the Red Sox would rather add a different bat. And while the Rangers entered the offseason willing to deal a catcher, they already made that trade, dishing Gerald Laird to the Tigers. It would take significantly more to pry Saltalamacchia or Teagarden from Texas now than it would have at the Winter Meetings.
That being said, there's a report in boston.com today from Globe writer Nick Cafardo that claims the Red Sox were scouting Saltalamacchia while he was playing winter ball last week. Evidently it was an off night behind the plate for the young catcher, so it's hard to tell what effect that might have on the team's interest in him. Whatever they do, the Red Sox have to act fast, because they need two catchers. Kevin Cash, Tim Wakefield's personal catcher who overachieved at the plate (for his ability) and caught admirably last year in the "Doug Mirabelli" slot signed a minor league deal with the Yankees last night. Nothing like rubbing salt in the wound, huh?
In other Red Sox news, the cash Boston saved on not signing Teixeira won't be used to lock up first baseman Kevin Youkilis to a long-term deal this offseason, according to boston.com Red Sox writer and former Postie Adam Kilgore.
OK, we now return you to your regularly scheduled Baseball Insider reading, below:
Amidst all the hoopla around Mark Teixeira's stealthy acceptance of yet another blockbuster offer from the Yankees, the immediate attention has been on how the move improves New York, and how it may re-consolidated hatred against the unipolar access of financial inequity that happens to be located off River Ave. in the Bronx.
Equally important are the effects the move has on the other teams who ardently lobbied to sign the first baseman, two of which happen to be in the mid-Atlantic. So, after trying to re-digest what you've read about the move already here and here (and for that matter, here), let's dig into just what the Nationals, Orioles, Red Sox and Angels will try to do now that they have, in theory, approximately $15-20 million to re-deploy.
Clearly, the Nationals are farther away from competing than any other contender for Teixeira. Still, that doesn't mean that they can't make a splash in the free agent market, particularly with plenty of bargains out there with the market readjusting to tougher economic times (at least outside of the Bronx). This is obviously more Chico's territory than my own, but here's giving it a good ol' holiday try:
- They could sign Adam Dunn. Clearly, Dunn is the buzz name, not only over at Nationals Journal but among all the real Nats fans hopeful for an improvement on the field ... and in morale. Dunn would add power, average and some credibility to the organization, providing a significant step forward and proving that owner Ted Lerner really will spend his money when he thinks there's a value on the market.
- They could sign Orlando Hudson. The Nats need a second baseman again after trading away Emilio Bonifcacio, and Hudson is a nice National League second baseman. The contract numbers being tossed around may seem inflated for Hudson because of his sometimes pedestrian bat, but he's such an unbelievably slick fielder that he saves enough runs to more than compensate for any offensive slowdowns. Call it a gut instinct, but I'm betting the Nats are a lot more likely to splurge on a basher like Dunn than Hudson, even though they could add both for less than they would have spent for Teixeira.
- Here's the dynamite move: They could sign Manny Ramirez. Yes, it sounds like a pipe dream, and yes it's a bit of a reach. But as the market for "Manny Being Manny" continues to collapse around him -- the Yankees aren't going to sign him, and Angels GM Tony Reagins insisted repeatedly yesterday that he will never play in Anaheim -- it's quite possible that the Nationals are one of only two possible landing pads for Senor Ramirez. The other, of course, is back with the Dodgers, but that would likely net Ramirez only a two year deal, possibly even a weaker one than the two-year, $45 million deal he was offered at the offseason's outset. Say the Nats come in and try to sweep Ramirez up for three-years and $63 million? They might get him, and the way Ramirez is hitting, that's probably a good deal.
Granted, the Ramirez move may be a stretch, but it really isn't as out of the question as some may believe. Now, if Nats fans really want to get optimistic, imagine if they signed Manny, then jumped in and got Dunn when the first baseman couldn't find another suitor willing to give him a contract longer than two years. Your middle of the Nationals order could look something like this: 2) Ryan Zimmerman, 3) Manny Ramirez, 4) Adam Dunn, Josh Willingham. That's not half bad, people. Not bad at all. Now, it's more likely that the Nats will try to dig up interest in another trade, but if they can add these pieces without losing any prospects, why not, right?
Go ahead, check out the other teams' breakdowns after the jump. You know you want to.
Sure, the Orioles might have more pieces in place than the Nationals, but they're in a much, much, much, much tougher division. Much tougher division. That being said, the O's could definitely use Dunn at first base. There are other bargains out there that might fit Baltimore's movement going forward, too.
- They could sign Adam Dunn. See above under Nationals.
- They could sign Bobby Abreu. This is a pretty big departure from the two established members of their starting outfield who are still sharply on the upswing of their career, but Abreu is a consummate hitter, and he'd provide more pop for Baltimore's lineup.
- The could sign one of the remaining top-end closers, like Brian Fuentes. Sure, George Sherrill was an All-Star, but does anyone trust him to be the long-term closer of the future? Fuentes is still out there, and adding him would allow the O's to covert Sherrill into a set-up man, which would give them a dynamic power-duo at the back end of the 'pen.
Again, like the Nats, we're betting that the O's will probably kick the tires on other possible trades before they plunge in for a big-ticket free agent. They were part of the proposed Jake Peavy trade earlier in the offseason, a move which would have allegedly netted them young Cubs outfielder Felix Pie, and there's always the outside chance that those talks could heat back up.
Teixeira's former team pulled out of the running for the first baseman because they felt they were being used. Reagins was smart to do so because, in truth, they were. Now, after bringing outfielder Juan Rivera back into the Halos fold and killing off any speculation about Ramirez, there's a lot of speculation about what the Angels might do next. Here's some possibilities:
- They could sign Brian Fuentes. Anaheim lost all-everything closer Francisco Rodriguez to the Mets, so they have a hole there for Fuentes to step in and fill. They're reportedly already making a push for him, so it may just be a matter of time before the erstwhile Rockies back-ender puts on a hat with a wreathed "A" on it.
- They could trade for Jake Peavy. Another legitimate possibility, provided they can convince Peavy to waive his no-trade to go to an American League club (a big question mark). Peavy would give major punch to Anaheim's rotation, which would be a big lift to the team's depth in the rotation.
- They could sign Derek Lowe. Sure, it could happen, but something tells us it won't. The Halos haven't seemed that interested in the free agent former Dodger, and he's getting serious interest and may be nearing negotiations with the Mets. This seems like a stretch, which isn't to say it wouldn't be a good move.
- They could sign Paul Byrd. It's a really minor move, but it's one they should consider. Byrd's already pitched in Anaheim once, and bringing him back would shore up the five-hole in the rotation. No Jake Peavy, but Byrd's nothing to wave off, either.
In reality, does anyone know what the Angels are going to do? Just when you think they've got the outfield shored up, the go out and ink another right or left fielder. Just when you think they've completely given up on Ervin Santana they stick with him, and he responds with a terrific year. You just never know.
Of all the teams hurt by the Yankees acquisition of Teixeira, the Red Sox seem to feel more hurt by it than anyone else. There's good reason for that: Even though Boston already has established first and third basemen, Teixeira would have been the perfect insurance policy for the team's lineup, making sure that the Sox still had pop if David Ortiz isn't quite the same after his wrist injury or, perhaps equally important, after losing his bash brother Ramirez behind him. So what will Boston do now? GM Theo Epstein has a lot of possibilities, though there's no sure sentiment that he'll move on any of them.
- They could sign Derek Lowe. The Sox have expressed interest in bringing him back, though the level of their interest is fairly unknown. Lowe has privately expressed a lot of interest in coming back. Would Boston overspend to bring back Lowe feeling like they need to make a move after missing on Teixeira? Probably not. Epstein and co. are too disciplined for that. Still, if other offers are in their ballpark, don't be surprised if Boston strikes for another starter.
- They could trade for Jake Peavy. Speaking of starters, why not go a rung higher and go get Peavy? Epstein loves the power pitcher, and if they could get him without giving up Clay Buchholz or Justin Masterson, they'd probably be interested. Of course, those are certain to be the first two players the Padres ask for, so there's no telling what the odds of Boston and San Diego making any progress actually are. Still, don't write it off. Remember, Epstein and Padres GM Kevin Towers have agreed to a handful of trades in the past. There's no reason they couldn't pull off another one.
- Here's a bombshell: They could trade for Rangers shortstop Michael Young. There were hushed rumors at the Winter Meetings that the Rangers were almost silently shopping their perennial All-Star shortstop. It's also worth noting that the one infield position where the Sox could use a better bat also happens to be at shortstop. Sure, returning rookie starter Jed Lowrie could make a second-year leap, but Young would be a seismic upgrade for sure. Again, it's unlikely the Sox would be willing to part with the prospects needed to consummate the deal, but you never know. That would also certainly be a huge splash and a direct volley back in the Yankees' direction. Pipe dream? Probably, but you never know.
- They could sign Bobby Abreu. Sure, Abreu will want to be an everyday outfielder, and he'd likely be part of a rotation in Boston. Still, J.D. Drew is hurt for part of every season, so Abreu would probably end up with plenty of time. And after being unceremoniously abandoned in New York, wouldn't Abreu take up the chance to stick it to the Yankees, a team which widely celebrated his arrival then watched him fade out in total obscurity and silence? There's also this: They know he can hit in Fenway. That's for sure.
As with all the other teams, it's equally likely that Boston doesn't take any of the options, instead holding tight and re-signing some of its young talent to longer-term deals. But there's also the x-factor that Boston may actually feel some pressure to respond after missing out on Teixeira. Any of those options would be a direct response, albeit each in a very different way.
What do people think? What obvious scenarios am I completely missing out on?
December 24, 2008; 1:34 PM ET
Categories: Angels , Nationals , Orioles , Red Sox , Yankees
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