The Tigers have aquired Gerald Laird from the Rangers for pitching prospects Guillermo Moscoso and Carlos Melo. Neither prospects are highly touted. Melo is pretty much a throw-in, while Moscoso ranked 10th among the Tigers top 10 prospects. He has the potential to become a #3 or #4, but injuries could stop him.
The Tigers got a steal. Laird is a very good defensive catcher with a decent bat. He hit .272 last year with 6 home runs and 41 RBIs. He’s a league average catcher, but a lot better than what the Tigers would have had behind the dish if they went with internal options. Their definately not done, though. A shortstop, starting pitcher, closer, and middle reliever all still need to be added. About 10 million is left to fill these holes with. This is overall a very nice trade for Detroit.
I don’t like this return at all for the Rangers. With so many teams interested in catchers, and with few options available via free agency, I thought Laird could bring back a pretty solid piece. I guess they just wanted to clear the salary and give the starting catcher’s job to a younger player. Just because Laird is gone, don’t be shocked if the Rangers still move one of their young catchers. Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Taylor Teagarden could still bring back a lot in a trade. Hopefully a lot more than Moscoso and Melo.
I though of a potentially good trade between the Rangers and Reds. As you can see from the Reds Offseason Needs, they need both a catcher and a shortstop. The Rangers need some pitching. Could the Reds trade Homer Baily to the Rangers for Gerald Laird and Elivis Andrus. They would love to add a great pitching prospect like Baily, especially one with his upside. I don’t think the Reds would do Jarrod Saltalamacchia for Baily, and the Rangers wouldn’t do Salty and Andrus both for Homer. So, they compromise with Laird replacing Saltalamacchia. The Rangers still keep all of their young catchers, but still move part of that surplus. They sacrifice Andrus, but he isn’t that neccessary for the team because they have Michael Young. The Reds lose a pitching prospect that still has a lot of upside, but they fill two key positions in the process. Two scarce positions, as well. It would also allow both teams to spend their money to fill different holes because they would be filling holes without spending money. The Rangers could spend it on Milton Bradley, the Reds on an outfielder. Remember, these two teams hooked up on the Josh Hamilton for Edinson Volquez trade last winter, so obviously they aren’t afraid to trade high-upside players such as Andrus and Baily.
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The terrible, then great, then terrible Texas Rangers will be looking for more consistancy in 2009. One thing they had, though, was consistancy bad starting pitching. This team has no starting rotation at all, yet have an outstanding offense. They are the classic Texas Rangers. This team need to resign Milton Bradley, their only key free agent. If they want to compete, they need to protect Josh Hamilton, and Bradley is a perfect cleanup hitter. The other thing they need to do is get pitching. This team does have many trade chips as well as three great power arms in the minors in Naftali Feliz, Derek Holland, and Michael Main. They have a huge catcher surplus. The Rangers have four starting catchers, all big league ready. They need to decide which one or two of Gerald Laird, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden, and Max Ramirez they should keep, and which ones they should move. Many people think Laird and another will be traded, probably Salty. I have said before that Jarrod Saltalamacchia for Michael Bowden would make sense. I still believe that. Gerald Laird to the Reds for Bronson Arroyo and cash makes a lot of sense as well if the Reds don’t sign Jason Varitek. Elvis Andrus and Engel Beltre could also be moved in the right deal. It is possible that the Blue Jays would make Roy Halladay avalable, or the Padres with Jake Peavy. If they are, I’m sure the Rangers would be at the top of the list. With all the young talent they have to trade and the need for an ace, it just makes a lot of sense. Also, I think they are an interesting dark horse for CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets. It is very likely that the Rangers trade at least one catcher and aquire at least one pitcher in the offseason. This is a team that could be competing by ’09. If not, then by ’10. They have a very bright future.
I am making a new series here on All Baseball All the Time. It is called the offseason plan series. I will go through all thirty teams and put on my GM hat. Today I will start with the Florida Marlins.
The penny pinching Marlins could be set for another fire sale this offseason. You may wonder why, as they are an above five hundred team and possibly could get better. Their owners do not like spending money, however. There projected payroll with many arbitration eligible players is about 58 million. I’m sure they would like to lower that to at least 50 million, probably less. And they still need a catcher. They could also use a cheap left reliever to replace Arthur Rhodes in the offseason. This is a list predicting the amount players will earn in arb. I think Scott Olsen should be moved to open up a spot for Andrew Miller. Mike Jacobs should also be traded. The Marlins have to many low average high power type players. They can spare him becasue the Marlins have a good second base prospect in Chris Coghlan. They can move Jorge Cantu to first base, and Dan Uggla to third base. That would improve the defense at third, first, and second base. Also, they get some speed in the lineup from Coghlan. Also, if the above list is correct, they shave 5 million off their payroll. They need to move an outfielder to open up a spot for Cameron Maybin. The least talented is Cody Ross, so I say move him. That’s another 1.5 million, only 1.5 left untill they are at 50. Since it is such a small number, they could just move fringe guys like Alfredo Amezaga and Sergio Mitre, whom are easily replacable. For the return in trades, I think they could get Gerald Laird from the Rangers. Maybe the Marlins throw in an extra prospect or 2 to get the Rangers to eat all of Laird’s contract. Jacobs could go to a team like the Angels if they fail to resign Teixera. The Marlins would likely ask for a prospect in return. Ross, Amezaga, and Mitre could be dealt for mid-to-low-level prospects. This is my offseason plan for the Florida Marlins.
I thought of a trade between the Rangers and Red Sox. Jarrod Saltalamacchia for Michael Bowden. The Rangers are in dire need of pitching help with a negative VORP. They are almost definatley going to trade a catcher this offseason, maybe two. They have four quality catchers in Salty, Max Ramirez, Gerald Laird, and Taylor Teagarden. It is in the order of value. The Rangers would like to add a pitcher, but most of the teams looking for a catcher don’t have a pitching prospect they can spare better than Bowden. If the Marlins offered Ryan Tucker, that would be close to chose from. If the Reds offered Homer Baily it would be done in a second. The Rangers would probably want a major league ready pitcher, because in the lower minors they have three stud pitching prospects in Neftali Feliz, Derek Holland, and Blake Beavan. Them, combinded with Eric Hurley are the Rangers future. The Rangers could make a trade like this, or they could combine Salty with others to land a proven pitcher via trade. The only problem is, that pitcher isn’t out there unless the Blue Jays decide to shop Roy Halladay, which isn’t likely. All in all, I think it would be smart for the Rangers to trade one catcher for a pitching prospect like Bowden, then next offseason make there big splash when the stud trio of prospects will be ready.