Now, if we can just get something for Salty and let Teagarden and Ramirez battle it out for catcher. And the Rangers will still suck, but at least we don't have a whiny catcher any more.
Laird trade makes room at catcher for Texas Rangers
Saltalamacchia, Teagarden said to have slight edge on Ramirez
01:27 AM CST on Tuesday, December 9, 2008
By RICHARD DURRETT / The Dallas Morning News
LAS VEGAS – Before the Baseball Winter Meetings officially began, the Rangers had alleviated some of their logjam at catcher.
The club's trade late Sunday night of Gerald Laird to Detroit for right-handed minor-league pitching prospects Guillermo Moscoso and Carlos Melo leaves three catchers competing for spots at spring training: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Taylor Teagarden and Max Ramirez.
General manager Jon Daniels put the 23-year-old Saltalamacchia and the 24-year-old Teagarden slightly ahead of Ramirez, 24, on the depth chart because they have a little more experience. And Daniels said he would still listen to offers for one of his young catchers, though it would probably take major-league ready pitching to make a deal happen.
"We talked to clubs about all four catchers," Daniels said. "We wanted to play it out and see what the market was. Gerald is a good player, but the market there was not as strong as reports of it were. We feel like we've got two guys that can make an impact."
Moscoso, 25, didn't pitch in the U.S. until he was 20, and shoulder surgery in 2005 slowed his progress. He made six starts at Double A (at the end of last season) and was 3-1 with a 3.12 ERA with 50 strikeouts and eight walks in 34⅔ innings. He throws in the low- to mid-90s, and the Rangers like his change-up and ability to strike hitters out
Melo, 17, is more of a raw talent with what Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski called a "plus fastball."
For Laird, 29, the trade represents a fresh start.
"I'm thrilled to get this opportunity," he said. "The Rangers gave me a chance to establish myself, and I appreciate that and I love that place. But they made big trades for players, and I felt like the last couple of years I was uncertain of my role. Now that I'm a Tiger, I'll get a chance to play every day."
The Rangers, it appears, are content to choose between Saltalamacchia and Teagarden as their everyday catcher. It's possible the two could platoon if neither seizes control at spring training.
"I think it clears up the picture a little," Teagarden said. "It gives both of us a chance to show we can play every day. It should be a fun competition."
The trade also helps the club save some money, as Laird was expected to make around $3 million in 2009, while Saltalamacchia and Teagarden will make $800,000 to $900,000 combined.