1. Would you accept the deal if it were Teagarden? (I would be less inclined fwiw, but I guess the Sox prefer him so it doesn't matter what I think, though I'd still do it I guess). Teagarden had a weird 2008 and I'm not really sure what to think about his projected performance over the next few years.
... Texas is not what it used to be as far as the farm system goes and has quite a bit of leverage here.
Paul, the answer for me to question 1 is Yes, I would (with the caveat that I don't where Clay's brain is - no guarantee Theo does either but ...). From what I understand, Teagarden's offensive upside is great and he doesn't carry the long term defensive position concerns that Salty does. FWIW, I've heard good things about Teagarden's leadership abilities. He's still green but I think Teagarden > Saltalamacchia as a young, potential long-term answer at C. I also think, IIRC, he'll be under cost control longer - not a huge deal but it tips the scales further. Salty does have a bigger sample size for offense, but if he can't Catch, why are we trading our #1 chip for someone who eventually won't be able to fill our #1 need?
Great point about the Rangers farm system and their current leverage. These aren't your older brother's Rangers, wildly desperate for any quality SP prospect. They now not only have multiple Catcher chips, they also have a pretty good amount of young SP with upside (Harrison, Hurley, Diamond, - Hell, even Mendoza and Nippert showed flashes, albeit brief. Gabbard and McCarthy are still young) so they're not as SP destitute as the Rangers usually are. They've got a decent amount to throw against the wall. But Buchholz would still be at the top of that list I believe.
And also Jon Daniels has come a long way as a GM from his early days (his recent moves have been much better - Gagne and Teixeira, even Volquez for Hamilton). If this deal was on the table even 1 year ago, I bet Daniels would've caved by now and pulled the trigger (Teagarden for Buchholz). Now, he's willing to be more patient. Perhaps really use that leverage should a playoff-bound team have an injury, or if the Sox C position is giant suckhole in mid-May, try and take advantage. Mark my words, the 2009 Rangers (or Red Shoes, as we call them) if healthy, will hit, will score a ton of runs, will play brutal IF defense and will have a solid bullpen. And if even two of these SP youngsters can figure it out, they will contend. As an aside, they'll still likely to try and dump Padilla and/or Millwood at the deadline for the right pieces if they're not in the thick of it.