Judging by the amount of email I’ve gotten about Nick Cafardo’s column in Sunday’s Boston Globe, it’s apparent that the Globe must have a huge subscribership in the Metroplex. For the couple of you who haven’t seen it, here’s the note that has grabbed everyone’s attention:
“The Sox are intrigued by Texas backstop Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the 23-year-old switch-hitter who has been shut down with a sprained elbow but will play in the Dominican this winter. The Sox would have to trade a top pitching prospect to land him. Reviews of his catching prowess are mixed, but one scout thinks Saltalamacchia looks very much like Varitek did at a similar age. Varitek wasn’t always the accomplished defensive catcher he is now. ‘If [Saltalamacchia] catches every day, he’s going to be fine,’ said an American League scout. ‘He’s got a good arm. He’s had his moments when he gets crossed up, but experience will help rectify that.’”
If the time is right for another team to go get Saltalamacchia, it may also be the right time to go get Clay Buchholz, the 24-year-old righthander who was great again in the minor leagues this year (5-2, 2.30 in 11 starts between AA Portland and AAA Pawtucket, more than nine strikeouts per nine innings, fewer than three walks per nine innings, .209 opponents’ average) but struggled in 15 big league starts and a relief appearance (2-9, 6.75, with 8.53 K/9, 4.86 BB/9, and a .299 opponents’ average), far less effective than he was in four Red Sox appearances last summer, one of which was a no-hitter of the Orioles.
The thing is, Saltalamacchia for Buchholz is probably the kind of trade neither Texas nor Boston would do straight up, concerned that they’d be selling low and running the real risk of seeing the guy they traded exploding after the trade – imagine the Josh Hamilton for Edinson Volquez and Danny Ray Herrera deal if either Hamilton or Volquez (but not both) didn’t have the season he was having.
There’s also the matter, particularly in the Rangers’ situation, of deciding whether this would be the best deal out there. Would Texas be better off moving Gerald Laird for a Marlins pitcher? Would the Rangers do better to include Saltalamacchia as part of a bigger trade for a more established young arm than Buchholz’s? There a dozen other possibilities.
If these are the players that both teams have zeroed in on, I think it might be the type of trade that has a better shot of getting done if both sides add a player (like Texas and Chicago did when Nick Masset and Jake Rasner and David Paisano were added to the John Danks-Brandon McCarthy deal). Give Boston a young arm to hedge against Buchholz turning into a star, give Texas another position player to add to the system.
Clay Buchholz and 20-year-old shortstop Yamaico Navarro for Jarrod Saltalamacchia and 20-year-old righthander Omar Poveda.
Poveda is Rule 5-eligible this winter. Navarro is a year away from eligibility.
Who says no?