In the S-T today, Kathleen O'Brien reports that Daniels will be meeting with Scott Boras this week, apparently to discuss the Mark Teixeira contract situation. Boras reiterated that, on a multi-year deal, Teixeira is seeking either a three-year contract or a ten-year contract. Boras also says that Kenny Rogers hadn't ruled out a return to Texas, although he thinks it isn't likely to happen. That may, though, just be Boras trying to scare Daniels off of offering arbitration.
Meanwhile, the Mench rumors continue to fly. The Toronto Sun says the Blue Jays are offering Miguel Batista and either Brandon League or Alex Rios to the Rangers for Mench. The Royals, meanwhile, are apparently offering Jeremy Affeldt, and Bob Dutton of the K.C. Star says that the Rangers' willingness to listen to offers for Mench is due to the departure of John Hart.
Of the two offers, I find the Blue Jays deal much more interesting. Batista was used as a reliever for the Jays last year, but he has pitched both out of the pen and in the rotation, and could be plugged into the Rangers' rotation for 2006. He's someone I wanted the Rangers to pursue after the 2003 season, when he was a free agent (and signed with the Jays).
League is a hard-throwing righty who turns 23 in January, and who was the Jays' #1 prospect (per BA) coming into the 2005 season. He struggled at both AAA and the major league level last year, but he's still viewed as someone who could develop into a solid reliever. Rios, meanwhile, was the Jays' top prospect coming into 2004...he's a tools outfielder prospect who has been hit-and-miss at the major league level.
This leads to a larger question, though...should we trade Kevin Mench?
I can certainly understand the objections from those who are against it. In fact, as recently as a month or two ago, I probably would have been (or was) against it. Part of that is the knee-jerk reaction that I think Buck doesn't like Mench and has jerked him around, and thus think Mench being dealt could be indicative of Buck working things behind the scenes. In addition, the outfield was terrible last season, and Mench, who is still relatively cheap, is the only quality outfielder the Rangers have coming back.
And yet...Mench turns 28 next season. His EQA has gone from .288 to .285 to .276 over the past three years. He's looking at $2-2.5 million in arbitration in 2006, and then likely $4 million or so in 2007. In other words, unless he reverses the downward trend his exhibited offensively, he's not likely to continue being a bargain. And at his age, he's no longer at the point where we can expect steady improvement.
So we've got a good, not great, outfielder who is about to start getting expensive. Unless he suddenly turns into Carlos Lee, he's likely going to give you one year, maybe two, before he's a non-tender. And he's in demand, and apparently can bring in return a commodity -- pitching -- that the team needs, and is having a hard time obtaining in the free agent market.
So, if the Rangers can get, say, Batista and Rios -- who is three years younger than Mench, a plus defensive right fielder who can also handle center, and someone who is cheap and still has some upside -- isn't that something to strongly consider?
Are the Rangers better off trading Mench for Batista and Rios, and then signing, say, Rondell White to share time in left field with David Dellucci? White is, offensively, about equal to Mench. And that would give you the option of still pursuing, say, a Brian Giles to play right field.
That gives you a Dellucci/White platoon in left, Rios in center, Giles in right, GMJ as your 4th outfielder, and Botts as your DH. Plus you have a solid innings-eating veteran starter in Batista, and you still have trade chips left with Soriano, Nix and Gonzalez.
It makes some sense.
And speaking of those trade chips...New York Newsday is reporting that there are trade talks going on between the Padres and the Rangers, apparently centering around a swap of Soriano and Nix for Adam Eaton and Mark Loretta.
The San Diego Union-Tribune, meanwhile, says that the Padres and Rangers are discussing a Nix-for-Eaton swap, but that the Padres aren't interested in Soriano.
I'm not sure how I feel about either of those deals. Loretta was legitimately great for a couple of years for the Padres, but he fell off last season, and is getting up in years. And Eaton seems to be Matt Clement redux, a guy who everyone thinks should be an ace, but who has never put it together. His flyball style also seems like a bad fit for the Rangers, and he's a free agent after 2006, so even if the Rangers picked him up, they'd only be getting him for a year.