Teixeira drawing increased interest

Interest grows for Teixeira

ARLINGTON -- First baseman Mark Teixeira's time with the Rangers could be drawing to a close.

With eight days to go before the July 31 trade deadline, Major League sources said the Rangers are finding interest in Teixeira to be greater than what's being reported in the national media, and there is more than a reasonable chance that he could be traded before next Tuesday.

The Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves appear to be the clubs most active in talking to the Rangers about Teixeira.

The New York Yankees have expressed interest but are adamantly opposed to giving up their top young pitching prospects, a list headed up by Phillip Hughes and Joba Chamberlain. The Baltimore Orioles and the San Francisco Giants also expressed interest earlier but appear to be backing off.

General manager Jon Daniels declined to discuss trade specifics.

"It's what you would expect a week before the deadline," Daniels said. "We continue to have conversations with numerous clubs. The frequency of calls has picked up. If there's something we can do that's in the best interests of the club, we'll do it."

The Dodgers have the deepest farm system of the teams pursuing Teixeira but are also trying to upgrade their pitching. The Red Sox, who are getting heat from the Yankees, have young pitching to offer including left-handers Kason Gabbard and Jon Lester, Triple-A right-hander Clay Buchholz and Double-A right-hander Michael Bowden.

Much depends on how much clubs are willing to hold on to their best prospects. Word is the Red Sox are adamant about not wanting to give up Buchholz just as the Braves aren't willing to deal catcher/first baseman Jarrod Saltalamacchia or shortstop Yunel Escobar. The Angels have first baseman Casey Kotchman, but the Rangers would want much more than that in a deal for Teixeira.

The Rangers' primary concern in trade talks is getting starting pitching in return, but they could also use help in the outfield. Catching is the deepest position in the organization.

"There is always a premium on pitching, but we're open-minded on anything that will help us win," Daniels said.

Teixeira can't be a free agent until after the 2008 season but is arbitration eligible next year, and the Rangers have admitted that it's going to be difficult to re-sign him to a long-term contract extension. Teixeira, who went into Monday's game with the Seattle Mariners hitting .301 with 13 home runs and 46 RBIs, declined to predict what he thinks will happen.

"I'm hearing the same thing you guys are," Teixeira said. "It's getting old, to tell you the truth."

The Rangers continue to get interest in their relievers, including Akinori Otsuka. He is on the disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow and is only starting to throw again. But clubs are still asking about him, closer Eric Gagne and setup reliever Joaquin Benoit.

The Cleveland Indians have been the most active in pursuing outfielder Kenny Lofton, who could play left field for them while David Dellucci is on the disabled list. The Indians also have interest in Benoit.

The Rangers have found little in the way of a market for designated hitter Sammy Sosa. The Minnesota Twins have the biggest need for offensive help among American League contenders but have shown little interest in Sosa.

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