Ken Rosenthal has a new column up...some highlights:
The question is price.
The Braves won't move Escobar; they clearly envision the rookie as their shortstop of the future if they were willing to make him the replacement for Renteria in the middle of a pennant race.
Yet, the Braves evidently believed they had enough other talent to land Garland and Teixeira in separate deals. And if they were creative enough to figure all that out, who's to say they won't come up with an equally intriguing Plan B?
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, another top Braves' prospect, almost certainly is one of the Rangers' prime targets. The Braves are reluctant to part with "Salty," who could end up at first base. But they would have no place to play him if they had Teixeria through '08; catcher Brian McCann is signed through 2012 with a club option for '13.
Perhaps the Braves would be willing to part with Saltalamacchia in a larger deal if they could also obtain one of the Rangers' relievers. The Rangers, however, are involved in multiple discussions with other teams; their entire bullpen is in play, as are outfielders Kenny Lofton, Brad Wilkerson and Sammy Sosa. If the Angels, or some other club, met the price for Teixeira, the Rangers could trade a reliever or two for other parts.
One rival general manager says that if he were in the Braves' position, he would do Saltalamacchia-for-Teixeira straight up; Teixeira, a prolific hitter and Gold Glove defender, could be that big of a difference-maker, the GM says.
The Braves, though, would be giving the Rangers not just a premium young talent, but also significant salary relief. In recent years, clubs have been willing to grant one or the other, but not both.
Teixeira is earning $9 million this season, and his salary could rise to $12 million next season in his final year of arbitration. It is almost certain he would not sign a contract extension before becoming a free agent; his agent, Scott Boras, prefers his clients' values to be determined on the open market.
With all the will they/won't they part with Saltalamacchia talk, Rosenthal brings up a pretty simple point that I hadn't considered -- if they hang onto Saltalamacchia and acquire Teixeira, they have nowhere to play Saltalamacchia until 2009, which makes hanging onto him a little harder to justify.
That said, the implication from Rosenthal -- that the Rangers are getting "salary relief" by unloading Teixeira, so maybe they aren't entitled to premium prospects -- is asinine. Teixeira's salary isn't unreasonable and isn't a long-term hindrance, so to suggest that the Rangers should just be satisfied with moving his contract off the books and not having to pay him is ridiculous.