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Sunday morning stuff

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Well, that sucked yesterday. Jamey Wright was about what was expected, but it is the continuing struggles of Frankie Francisco that are more concerning.

Today's Sunday, so the notes columns are out all over, and there are lots of Rangers trade talk out there.

The Newark Star-Ledger says that Mark Teixeira and Eric Gagne could be of interest to the Yankees (among other contenders), but says that the asking price for Teixeira will be high, while Gagne's injury issues will make teams reluctant to pursue him.

Phil Rogers talks about available Rangers players:

The Rangers, arguably the first half's biggest disappointment, also are being scouted heavily for trades before the July 31 deadline.

In addition to Mark Teixeira, who's likely to miss three weeks with a strained quad, scouts are watching Sammy Sosa and Kenny Lofton as well as a trio of relievers--Eric Gagne, Akinori Otsuka and Joaquin Benoit.

Gagne is probably the best bet to be traded, perhaps sooner rather than later. He's not throwing as hard as before his surgeries in 2005 and '06 (twice on his elbow, once on his back), but he's missing bats--18 strikeouts and only eight hits allowed in 17 innings. He is 7-for-7 in save chances after getting one Friday night.

Lofton is an intriguing/maddening player. He has been with nine teams the last seven years, seemingly never endearing himself, and has had minimal impact after signing a $6 million deal to play center field for Texas.

But he has gone to the playoffs in 10 of the last 16 seasons, most recently with the Dodgers last year, the Yankees in 2004, the Cubs in '03 and the Giants in '02. Who's next?

Joel Sherman offers his view in the New York Post:

The White Sox and Rangers are open for business," one AL executive said. The similarities end there. The White Sox are run by an aggressive, confident GM (Kenny Williams) and Texas has what one NL executive called "the most gun-shy GM in baseball" in Jon Daniels.

* * *

The Rangers have a buffet of potentially available players, including arguably the most attractive in Mark Teixeira. However, Daniels has orchestrated a series of horrific trades recently. "This is going to be his signature trade of his tenure, so it has to work and, therefore, I think his asking price will be too high for anyone to accept," an AL executive said.

The Yanks and Red Sox have been associated with the Teixeira market, and both will make calls. But both seem committed to plans to protect the best of their farm system and know they simply can wait until after the 2008 season and buy Teixeira. That is another problem for Texas besides even that Teixeira is currently on the DL with a quad injury. His agent is Scott Boras, and it is widely accepted Teixeira is going to be a free agent.

"The Boras factor is huge," an AL executive said. "When does Boras not take a guy to free agency? And Teixeira is one of the biggest Boras disciples. He will not say "no" to Boras even if he is traded someplace he wants to stay.

"So teams are hesitant to give up top prospects, pay Teixeira [he will get around $15 million in arbitration next season] and likely lose him after the 2008 campaign. Conversely, the Rangers know they will lose him also and now is when they could get the most for him." So does Texas take less to get something or does Daniels refuse to undersell?

The Dodgers, Angels and his home-state Orioles want Teixeira. But beware the Tigers. They have done a lot of big deals with Boras clients and need a first-base upgrade. But because they would be unwilling to move either of their top two prospects, Cameron Maybin or Andrew Miller, they may have to turn to another Ranger represented by Boras, Eric Gagne.

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Gagne is the most obvious big-time reliever expected to be moved, but his recent injury history has clubs fretting he will break down.

San Diego would move Scott Linebrink in attempts to find a bat (the Pods are eyeing Dye). Texas would consider moving Akinori Otsuka in the right deal and Tampa could be persuaded to deal closer Al Reyes.

If Daniels is now the most gun-shy g.m. in baseball, then I'm going to have to reconsider wanting him to stay as g.m.

In any case, the two teams I'd like to see the Rangers make a Teixeira deal with -- if a deal is going to go down -- is the Dodgers and the Tigers. The Dodgers have a lot of very nice prospects, and a g.m. who worked for Brian Sabean, who has historically viewed prospects as, first and foremost, chips to be used to bring in veterans. You've got guys like Matt Kemp, James Loney, Chad Billingsley out there, who would be terrific fits for the Rangers. And the Tigers, who also need relief help, could maybe be convinced to part with Cameron Maybin or Andrew Miller as part of a package for both Teixeira and Otsuka.

There are several articles out there discussing Gagne, but the consensus seems to be he has no-trade protection keeping him from being traded to the teams that would most likely want him, and Boras is going to want to extract a contract extension from whatever team acquires him in order to waive that no-trade.

In other news, Richard Durrett reports that Kevin Millwood says this is the worst streak he's ever gone through, with his problem being command of his fastball.

Evan Grant compares the plight of the Rangers to the plight of the Cubs, and notes the similarities in their struggles.

Jim Reeves has some Rangers items in this week's "Postcards from the Ledge", and amazingly, they aren't all bad. The lead item is Tom Hicks' comments about Juan Gonzalez and steroids, and he also acknowledges that the Rangers had little choice but to re-sign Vicente Padilla, despite his struggles this year, and says that the Rangers may have been right about John Danks being major league ready right now.

Of course, he also takes the Rangers (and Hicks, more specifically) to task for not rolling the dice on Rick Porcello, essentially saying that a 50% chance of getting Josh Beckett is worth handing out a $6 million major league contract.