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Saltalamacchia nets Texas two prospects

Saltalamacchia nets Texas two prospects

ANAHEIM -- The Rangers, having made four trades that cost them 10 young players in the course of one month, decided right before the Trade Deadline to make a move to help replenish their farm system.

They did so by trading catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to the Red Sox on Saturday.


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In return, the Rangers received Minor League right-handed pitcher Roman Mendez, first baseman Chris McGuiness, a player to be named later and $350,000 in cash. General manager Jon Daniels said the money will be used to sign two or three extra Draft picks from the June First-Year Player Draft that the Rangers otherwise might not be able to afford.

In all, the Rangers hope to add five to six players to their system from this trade, the third one made by the club in three days and fifth since July 1.

"We like the players and the total package we're getting back," Daniels said. "We gave up a lot of good players and we felt we needed to do something to put something back in our system."

In doing so, the Rangers cut ties with their once and future catcher who was one of five players acquired from the Braves three years ago in the Mark Teixeira trade. Saltalamacchia was the Rangers' Opening Day catcher for the past two seasons but started having physical and throwing problems a year ago that ultimately required surgery last September.

After a series of setbacks, Saltalamacchia made the Opening Day lineup this year and had the game-winning hit. But he went on the disabled list two days later with more shoulder problems. The Rangers sent him on a rehabilitation assignment on April 20 and then optioned him to Triple-A Oklahoma City on April 27.

They have left him there. The Rangers have had a constant need for catching since then but have called up Max Ramirez and Taylor Teagarden, and traded for Bengie Molina while Saltalamacchia was stuck in Oklahoma City.

The Rangers finally decided Saltalamacchia needed to go elsewhere.

"Although we like Jarrod's potential and definitely feel he has a future as a contributing player in Boston, in our minds it was more likely to happen somewhere else than here," Daniels said. "The Red Sox have had a sincere interest him, so it has a chance to benefit both us and the player."

Right now, Molina is the Rangers' No. 1 catcher and Teagarden is his backup. Veteran Matt Treanor remains on the disabled list. Ramirez is catching at Oklahoma City. Jose Felix, 22, is another top prospect who was recently promoted to Double-A Frisco.

As far as the future, Ramirez and Teagarden remain in the mix, and Daniels said the Rangers have not ruled out the possibility of trying to re-sign Molina and/or Treanor.

"That's something we'll sift through when the time comes," Daniels said. "We've got a lot of quality players. We're comfortable where we are at right now. We feel like we've got some guys who can help us win games."

Daniels said there was no one factor in why the Rangers traded Saltalamacchia or why he fell so far from the top of the Rangers' catching depth chart.

"Sometimes a change of scenery is needed," Daniels said. "I don't know if it's a combination of these things -- the injury or the expectations from the trade. Salty has had a lot of things going on in the past year. He's still talented, he still works his tail off. I expect him to have success with the Red Sox.

"We could have played it out longer. We just like what we're getting back. We're getting three players back and we're getting some cash back that will help us bolster the system by signing Draft picks we might not otherwise be able to sign."

Mendez has been assigned to Class A Spokane in the Northwest League with McGuiness going to Class A Bakersfield in the California League.

Mendez, who throws up to 99 mph with a chance to have a plus slider, gives the Rangers another big arm in the farm system while McGuiness is described as a polished Mitch Moreland-type of hitter with a high on-base percentage. Like Moreland, he was a pitcher in college at The Citadel.

McGuiness, 22, was the Red Sox's 13th-round pick in the 2009 Draft and was batting .298 (84-282) with 20 doubles, 12 homers and 46 RBIs in 78 games at Class A Greenville.

McGuiness came out of college with a reputation as being a polished college hitter with an advanced approach at the plate and lived up to that. He has spent the entire 2010 season with Greenville in the South Atlantic League. He's third in the league in on-base percentage (.416) and fourth in slugging (.504), giving him the fourth-highest OPS (.920) in the SAL. "McGuiness, our guys like the way he goes about it and the way he swings the bat," Daniels said. "They think he has a chance to keep hitting as he moves up in the system."

Mendez, 20, was 2-3 with a 4.36 ERA in eight starts for Class A Lowell. Mendez, who is tied for ninth in the New York-Penn League with 35 strikeouts in 33 innings, defeated Tri-Cities in his last start on Thursday, allowing four hits and two runs in five innings with six strikeouts. Mendez began 2010 at Greenville with a 0-2 record and 11.40 ERA in six starts.

Mendez has a ton of upside, having been clocked as high as 99 mph on the radar gun. Right now, he's got the chance to have two above-average to plus pitchers with his fastball and slider. He started the year in the South Atlantic League, but got moved down because of command issues. Some still project him as a starter, while others think he'll be a reliever, with an outstanding two-pitch power arsenal. Either way, he's a high-ceiling arm who might take a long time to move up the ladder.

"Mendez has a great arm and you can never have enough big arms in the system," Daniels said. "You can never have enough big arms in the system. Our guys liked him as an amateur and say he has gotten better since he signed."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Jonathan Mayo contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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