Could Red Sox deal for catcher at deadline?

Let’s take a break from the Manny saga and check out another trade rumbling on the horizon: The Texas Rangers are open to trading Jarrod Saltalamacchia for young pitching, according to Ken Rosenthal. This is the storyline you should be following, not Manny. Dude doesn’t need any more attention.
As some of you know, the Rangers have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to catching: Saltalamacchia, Gerald Laird, Max Ramirez and Taylor Teagarden. Since they’re looking for young pitching and the Red Sox have those in spades, a deal may be closer than many think. Let’s look at the candidates that could come over from Texas:

  • Gerald Laird is 28 years old and is hitting .316/.368/.444. He has been inconsistent as far as at-bats in the majors go over the last five years, garnering 44, 147, 40, 243, 407 and 187 so far this year. Only 2006 (.296/.332/.473) and 2008 have him flashing offensive potential. Given his age and the fact that the Red Sox would hesitate to throw Laird right into the backup role (and thus right into catching Tim Wakefield), I have to think that this deal is unlikely to happen.
  • Jarrod Saltalamacchia was the key to last year’s Mark Texeira trade and may be on the move again. Salty is off to a poor start to the year, hitting only .232/.322/.341 in 164 AB but at age 23, still remains a hot name around sports. He’s not too thrilled to be a Ranger these days as the Rangers told him Gerald Laird will be the starter down the stretch and he’s not too pleased about being a backup. His defensive work still has a long ways to go, according to Ron Washington, the Rangers’ manager. “No. 1, his game-calling can always get better,” Washington said. “I’m not getting on him; I’m just talking about what he can improve. No. 2, blocking balls. No. 3, continue working on his throwing. No. 4, understanding catching is most important. All of it together is a process. It takes time. It’s called experience.” With Salty’s offensive potential, he would certainly fit into the Red Sox’s plans

    Categories: Gerald Laird Jarrod Saltalamacchia Max Ramirez Michael Bowden Taylor Teagarden Texas Rangers

Born on the 37th anniversary of the the day Babe Ruth died (1985) which later became the day Jimy Williams was fired in 2001 (a monumental event at the time), Evan was too young to experience the pain 1986 brought, but a deep wound was sowed in 2003. Since then, Fire Brand has become a blog that Red Sox “club officials read,” as per Peter Gammons. Evan enjoys working out, writing, reading, quality television, science fiction and history and being newly married. He is a professional baseball journalist as well as president of a state non-profit and member of the Board of Directors for a national profit. (Twitter.)

20 Responses to “Could Red Sox deal for catcher at deadline?” Subscribe

  1. Tim Daloisio July 28, 2008 at 8:26 PM #

    I think getting aggressive around Salty is mission critical given our lack of organizational depth at the C position….it would also knock out a leg of Boras' during Varitek negotiations looming.
    I would love a Salty/Tek combo for two years where the master trains the young replacement.
    I would be willing to part with young pitching to get this done. The only thing that throws a wrench in Bowden being that piece is the thought that he is being groomed for the pen for the stretch run.

  2. Bob July 28, 2008 at 8:44 PM #

    I'm not sold on Salty. In fact, I'd prefer Ramirez of the 4. He's more under the radar so he'd probably be cheaper and his minor league offensive numbers are actually better than Salty. Unlike Salty who has a lot of pressure on him as a super-hyped (overhyped?) prospect the Sox can take it slower with Ramirez and let him apprentice under Tek for a year or two, gradually taking more of the playing time. It might sting to give up Bowden, but I would at least give it thought, I definitely would not give him up for Laird who is pretty much a known quantity. I would also consider trading Craig Hansen and a lower level minor league bat (not Lars) for a reliever (Ohman?).
    As for Bowden to the pen, I say no. His stuff doesn't project as well there. His velocity is fringe-90s and he still needs a little polish. It's telling that SoxProspects compares him to Jeff Suppan. Masterson works in the pen because of his delivery and the hard sinker, Bowden is definitely a starter in my mind.

  3. JaredK July 28, 2008 at 8:50 PM #

    I would not give up Bowden. I'd rather go a year with Dusty Brown/Varitek then give up Bowden. I also think Luis Exposito is a very intriguing prospect. He was suspended for part of 2007 but by all accounts has matured and is a good kid/teammate…has excellent defensive tools and has shown some good pop (6 homeruns in 122 at bats in Lancaster…I know Lancaster inflates but he also hit very well in Greenville). Between the defenisive abilities of Brown/Wagner/Exposito, and all three having some offensive upside, I would not be ready to sacrifice Bowden for a catcher with marginal defensive abilities yet. I know Exposito is still a big question mark and Brown/Wagner don't have much above league avg potential with the bat…Varitek has shown us the value of a heady catcher who places their priority with their preparation behind the plate. I wouldn't mind Salty or Teagarden, just wouldn't sacrifice Bowden yet…he keeps getting better and his velocity has improved, I'd rather see what he does in triple a through the as break next year and continue to get great game calling/defense from behind the plate.

  4. Jc July 29, 2008 at 9:30 AM #

    bowden for salty? i'do it in a heartbeat, bowden is nothing more than a #3 at best, which is not very likely, give me saltalamacchia any time.

  5. Shane July 29, 2008 at 9:31 AM #

    I think Laird would be a big mistake. If the Sox could get Saltalamacchia or Ramirez I'd be thrilled. I am iffy on if this is the right time to get a catcher, but the team needs one. A two year transition between Tek and a whomever would be ideal.

  6. Lyndsay July 29, 2008 at 9:33 AM #

    Theo does not have a good track record when it comes to making a deal at the deadline, so I would rather we wait until the offseason and see who is available then.

  7. Bob July 29, 2008 at 9:57 AM #

    "Theo does not have a good track record for makinga deal at the deadline"
    '04 'nuff said :)

  8. Bob July 29, 2008 at 9:57 AM #

    Salty is pretty overrated in my mind, I'd take Ramirez any day, I think in 3 years he'll be the better catcher by a good measure.

  9. Evan Brunell July 29, 2008 at 9:57 AM #

    Bowden being the next Jeff Suppan is a bit surprising to me.

  10. Bob July 29, 2008 at 10:03 AM #

    Bowden compared to Suppan is pretty fair in my mind. Being Suppan certainly isn't a bad thing, he's had a long run as a middle-rotation guy (now a #5). Bowden's fringe-90s fastball is similar to a young Suppan and they both came up through the Sox system and have similar repetoire's. I think all of that goes out the window is the reports are true and Bowden's fastball is in the 94 mph range now. The comparison breaks down because Bowden is more of a ground ball pitcher than Suppan ever was. Still Bowden probably will never be a #1 starter and at some point you do have to trade something to get something. This would all be a mot point if we hadn't traded Shoppach in the Crisp deal.

  11. JaredK July 29, 2008 at 10:37 AM #

    When the Rangers acquired Max Ramirez the Braves were getting ready to try him at 1b or of as his defenisive abilities were questionable behind the plate. Not sure how far he has come defensively but he will likely get on base more then Salty/Teagarden albeit w/less power. Bowden is hard to predict, last year he was working anywhere between 87 mph and 92 with the fastball. Earlier this year he was sitting at 93 and touching 94 at times from what I understand but it has dipped back down according to others. The curve and change are both potential plus pitches though, if he can continue to get stronger (he pretty much was built like a man coming out of high school, not much projection for growth) and be able to work at 92-94 I have no doubt he will be a better pitcher then Suppan. What he was doing at double-a as a 21 year old was pretty rare. Either way I would not give up Bowden yet.
    Just an interesting thought…lets say Clay pulls it together in August and strings together a bunch of very good starts down the stretch. Would you be willing to trade Beckett to Texas for:
    *a catcher (Salty, Teagarden or Max)
    * Short-stop Elvis Andrus
    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/A/elvis-an… Keep in mind he is 19 and putting those numbers up in double a and the Rangers have Young/Kinsler signed for 5 years
    * Eric Hurley
    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/H/eric-hur… I'd prefer Neftali Feliz but not sure if they would give him up
    We would get a catcher, a very good short stop and pitching prospect. Texas would get two years of Josh Beckett, a power pitching ace is what they have been chasing for years. Plus with Beckett having a ranch in Texas he would be a very good bet for them to resign long-term. If Buccholz can show signs of consistency and with Lester, Dice-K, Wake, a free agent like Sheets (probably only misses slighty more time then Beckett) it could be a way to fill many holes. I like Beckett but he seems to have taken a small step backwards this year and I wouldn't mind selling high…especially since our f/o for whatever reason has expresssed a concern signing him long-term when he hits free agency after his option year (although w/ our resources I don't get it, makes me wonder if they have concerns w/signing him long-term).

  12. JaredK July 29, 2008 at 10:39 AM #

    The above Beckett proposal would be in Novermber, after the World Series of course. I know Beckett is a big game pitcher, I am just bullish on his ability to be an ace long-term

  13. JaredK July 29, 2008 at 10:56 AM #

    Gammons saying we are after Teagarden

  14. Bob July 29, 2008 at 11:27 AM #

    Trade Beckett, interesting, but no. It would take a lot more than a month of good pitching from Buchholz for me to even think about it and he hasn't shown any sort of consistency or proof that he's ready to be an ace.

  15. JaredK July 29, 2008 at 12:10 PM #

    Well, I did say that a adding a veteran free agent like Sheets would be part of the plan as well. Again, I would not look to trade Beckett, but Texas would make an interesting partner….Elvis Andrus and Neftali Feliz (I seriously doubt they would surrender him even for Beckett) would make me do it. Feliz was 19 at the beginning of the year and put up a 106/28 k/bb rate in 82 innings at high-a ball and has looked good in double-a at 20.

  16. Bob July 29, 2008 at 12:13 PM #

    I don't trust Sheets to stay healthy, but if you can get Feliz in a deal for Beckett along with a catcher, then I might roll the dice.

  17. SeaBeachFred July 29, 2008 at 1:37 PM #

    There is no way in Hades that we can afford to go with Varitek one more month, let alone another two years. We are loaded with good young pitching prospects and the Rangers are a plethora of solid young catching prospects. It is an ideal situation for a trade. I want Saltalamacchia because he has tremendous upside as a solid offensive player capable of hitting 25-30 homers for the Red Sox. Forget the defensive catchers. We need someone who can stick; we have seen what the non-hitting Varitek and Cash have done to undermine us this year. Move it Theo and get us a good young hitting catcher. We already know Kotteras down at Pawtucket is a lemon and Brown is another Cash, and Varitek is through.

  18. Beverly July 29, 2008 at 3:16 PM #

    I've watched them all play quite a bit, and if I had a choice I'd take Taylor Teagarden without a doubt. I wouldn't give up Masterson for him (one of my friends said he heard on XM Radio this afternoon that was the deal but nothing has happened so I doubt it) but Taylor is a solid player with far above average defensive skills. All the pitchers who work with him rave about his game calling ability and while he's not a great offensive player, he does have occasional pop in his bat.
    Jared: I wouldn't trade for Eric Hurley right now. He just got off the DL and his velocity is down. He claims he isn't still injured, but I'm not convinced. I agree with you thought that Feliz is pretty much untouchable.

  19. Evan Brunell July 29, 2008 at 4:38 PM #

    Beverly,
    Why Teagarden? His bat doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

  20. Beverly July 30, 2008 at 10:35 AM #

    Evan,
    His defense and game calling abilities far outweigh the limited offense. He has a canon of an arm, and it's starting to get to the point where they don't try to run on him. Most important though is how he handles the pitchers. There is a degree of trust there that I didn't see with Jarrod and don't even see as much with Gerald. The pitchers all love him too.
    I know his offensive numbers haven't been great, but I wouldn't write him off. I don't think he'll even be a .280-.290 hitter, but I think he could be in the .260-.270 range with occasional pop.