Catching up.

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Catcher Talk
dominates.

 

  • Lots of Florida speculation. 
    There are multiple reports that the Marlins have expressed interest in Jarrod
    Saltalamacchia and Max Ramirez, and that they are trying to move Scott Olsen, a
    big 24-year-old lefthander with three-plus years of big league experience
    (31-37, 4.63), before they’ll consider shopping any of their bigger rotation
    names who might eventually be available (such as Ricky Nolasco) (various local
    reports, plus Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune, and Clark Spencer of the
    Miami Herald, who I don’t think
    is the same Clark Spencer who played baseball with me at
    Hillcrest)

 

  • For what it’s worth,
    I guess I don’t mind taking a chance on Olsen, despite his checkered off-field
    history, but I’m not crazy about the idea of moving one of our catchers for
    him.  His strikeout rates are going in the wrong direction, and his hittability
    and home run rates aren’t good-looking.  There’s some merit in buying low on a
    young pitcher who has shown promise in the past at the big league level – that’s
    one area where Mike Maddux can make an impact – but I’m not sure how much better
    Olsen can be expected to be over the next few years than a few of the young
    starters that we’ve gotten to Arlington and several more who are getting close
    to beating down the door.

 

  • If Cleveland is after Olsen, I wonder what we could get from
    the Indians in a three-way deal that sends Ramirez to Florida.

 

  • The Rangers are also
    talking to Florida about reliever Kevin Gregg
    (Rogers)

 

  • Boston continues to
    have interest in Saltalamacchia (who is now throwing from 120 feet and could
    head off to winter ball in a couple weeks to prove his health) and Taylor
    Teagarden (who I still maintain is probably closest of our four catchers to
    untouchable), while the Red Sox are “pretty split organizationally” on Gerald
    Laird.  Texas is reportedly interested in
    Boston
    righthanders Clay Buchholz and Michael Bowden, plus, I suspect, Justin Masterson
    (various local reports, plus Rosenthal, Ken Davidoff of Newsday, and Nick Cafardo and Tony
    Massarotti of the Boston
    Globe
    )

 

  • Milwaukee and Kansas City may no longer
    be in the mix for a Rangers catcher (one local report)

 

  • On the other hand,
    the Brewers are included in a note regarding the availability of Rangers
    catchers suggesting that Boston, Detroit, and Cincinnati are in need of help at the position
    (Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain
    Dealer
    )

 

  • Significant in terms
    of the marketability of the Rangers’ catchers: the Dodgers are now saying
    Russell Martin is not available
    (Keith Law of ESPN)

 

  • If Zack Greinke
    isn’t receptive to a long-term contract extension, Kansas City would make him
    available in trade (Law)

 

  • The Rangers are
    among several teams expected to be in on free agent closer Brian Fuentes (Jon
    Heyman of Sports Illustrated, who
    also suggested Texas will end up with Francisco
    Rodriguez)

 

  • Rangers Director of
    Pacific Rim Operations Jim Colborn will be in Japan
    next week to scout 33-year-old righthanders Koji Uehara and Kenshin Kawamaki and
    22-year-old righty Junichi Tazawa (one local report)

 

  • The Angels are trying to get a deal
    done with Mark Teixeira before next Thursday, the last day on which teams have
    the exclusive right to negotiate with their own free agents – after that, “the
    team might go in a completely different direction” (to which I say, “Mr. Boras,
    do your thing – hold out!”) (Rosenthal) 

 

 

 

salt2.jpg

 

A few other
notes:

 

Mike Maddux’s contract is evidently for two
guaranteed years and a club option for a third, and reportedly for “more than
$500,000″ per year, while Milwaukee had offered him something just short
of $500,000 per year after having paid him $450,000 annually until his contract
expired last week.  Maddux’s annual deal is, according to a local report, among
the three highest of any pitching coach in the game (but it sounds like he was
already in that territory with the Brewers).  St. Louis pitching coach Dave Duncan makes
$750,000 per year.

 

Director of Player Development Scott
Servais will head to the Rangers’ Dominican Republic Academy next week, and among his
objectives is to assess the progress Joaquin Arias is making with his arm
strength.  Arias could report to the Dominican Winter League
soon.

 

Servais will also assist bench coach Jackie
Moore in working with the club’s catchers in 2009.

 

Jose Vallejo, as noted before, will likely
move around the infield in 2009, with an eye toward helping the major league
club eventually as a super utility player with plus speed.  He’s a lock to be
added to the 40-man roster later this month.

 

The Rangers are bringing a dozen young
pitchers to Arlington this month for a conditioning camp
and again in January for a pitchers’ mini-camp.  Among the invitees are Derek
Holland, Neftali Feliz, Brandon McCarthy, Eric Hurley, Doug Mathis, and Tommy
Hunter.

 

Texas won’t
officially exercise Hank Blalock’s $6.2 million option until visiting with him
face-to-face in the next few days.

 

The Rangers intend to discuss a long-term
contract with Josh Hamilton but, in keeping with the organization’s custom,
probably not until January.

 

According to Baseball America, Texas has re-signed a
number of its minor league free agents: pitchers A.J. Murray, Joselo Diaz,
Adalberto Flores, and Alfredo Gonzalez, and catcher Kevin Richardson.  Nowhere
on that list is infielder Drew Meyer.

 

The Phillies fired third base coach Steve
Smith.  Interesting.

 

Toronto claimed
righthander Kelvin Jimenez and lefthander Les Walrond off
waivers.

 

The White Sox released catcher Billy
Killian.  Seattle released lefthander Michael
Wagner.

 

Bill James projects Chris Davis (age 22,
making $400,000) to hit .302 with 40 home runs and 118 RBI in
2009.

 

James projects Manny Ramirez (age 36,
seeking close to $20 million) to hit .301 with 34 home runs and 113 RBI in
2009.

 

James projects Teixeira (age 28, seeking
$20 million) to hit .299 with 36 home runs and 126 RBI in
2009.

 

 

Jamey

 

 

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