Ken Rosenthal has some notes up today, that includes some stuff on the Rangers...specifically, discussions of a possible Josh Hamilton long-term contract, and this on the Rangers being sellers:
The Angels could pull away in the AL West now that they are getting healthy, a development that would leave the Rangers in position to market their veteran starting pitchers. Right-hander Vicente Padillia already is "very, very much available," according to a rival executive.
The problem with Padilla is that he is difficult to trust, particularly when he is earning $11 million this season and $12 million next season. Righty Kevin Millwood also is expensive at $8.5 million this season, $11 million next season and $12 million in 2010. Righty Sidney Ponson, enjoying a resurgence at 31, is less established, but one of the season's best bargain pickups.
The 2010 contractual situations for Millwood and Padilla both, though, would seem to make them a little more attractive.
Padilla has a team option for 2010 for $12 million, with a $1.75 million buyout. Millwood's 2010 deal becomes cancellable based on innings pitched. In a nutshell, the 2010 is basically a team option that will vest if he pitches about 180 innings next year.
That gives a team acquiring either one of those guys some flexibility. Realistically, if Kevin Millwood gives you 180 innings in 2009, you are probably going to be willing to pay him $12 million for one year for 2010. And Padilla is someone who, if he performs, he can keep around for a not-unreasonable amount, and if he doesn't, you can cut loose after 2009.
So I do think that these two guys' contracts are more attractive on the trade market than Rosenthal suggests. I think, when you look at what middle of the road starting pitchers are commanding on the open market, having someone like Padilla or Millwood on a short-term deal that you can cut loose after 2009 if it isn't working is going to be appealing. And, barring the Rangers hanging in the playoff race, I expect one of those guys to get moved in July.