I am pleased to announce that my work can now be found on www.rangersrumors.com. Adam Stellar, who runs the site, is also a diehard fan and does a great job covering our guys. I thought this move made more sense since his site sees more traffic and is much easier to navigate to. In addition to my coverage of Ranger related trade information, Adam covers just about everything else Ranger related on a daily basis. Please visit his site regularly for Ranger info, pictures of beautiful women, and polls such as greatest mustache in baseball history. All the best and go Rangers!
Ryan C. Sablotny
By now, most of you have already heard the news. The Rangers have told Michael Young that he would be shifted to 3rd base and that Elvis Andrus would become the starting short stop. Michael was reportedly infuriated that he was told, not asked, and has apparently asked for a trade. This obviously huge news, so let’s look at it from each side.
When you look at Michael’s side, it’s understandable why he would be so upset by this. He has been the definition of a team player ever since he has arrived in Texas. This is the same Michael Young that volunteered to move to SS when the Rangers acquired Alfonso Soriano in the Alex Rodriguez trade. He has consistently worked his butt off no matter what the Rangers record has been, and been the team leader in the clubhouse for a number of years. He has added a batting title and a gold glove in 2008 to his resume. And now, the Rangers have told him that he would be shifted to 3rd in order to open short for Elvis. I think a large part of why he is so upset is the fact that he was told that he’s be moving instead of asked, following a season in which he is coming off of winning the gold glove. But another possible scenario is that he has been looking for an opportunity to go to a contender, and saw this as the perfect opportunity. He has submitted a list of teams he would accept a trade to, since he has a full no trade clause. He said he would not play 3rd for the Rangers, but would play 2nd for another team should he be traded.
The Rangers view Michael Young as the face of the franchise and probably thought when they informed him that Elvis Andrus would take over at short, that he would understand it’s for the best of the club. Or did they? Michael has 5 years left and 62 million dollars remaining on his contract. In the economy right now, 12.5 million for him is considered quite high. The Rangers would probably prefer that he stay here and play 3rd, but at this moment, that doesnt seem likely. Michael Young is the heart of the Rangers, but if the Rangers are able to shed his contract and get solid value for him, he might be more valuable in another teams uniform.
First, let’s assume that the Rangers agree to pay about 2-3 million dollars a year of Youngs deal which makes him around a 10 million a year player, which is a little more reasonable for interested clubs. The Rangers have said they would have to receive a young 3b in return, and likely some pitching. Now that he has submitted a list of teams he would accept a trade to, I’ll take a guess at some of the teams that might be found on that list (I included every California team since he is from there and would love to be closer to home). Some teams might try to broaden the deal, and at the end I try and pick a deal that might interest both teams.
Boston- Theo has said they’re not interested now that they have Jed Lowrie, but if they could get creative with their lineup, anythings possible. They don’t have a young 3B, but have tried to deal Lowell in the past. They still love Salty. The Trade: Young and Saltalamacchia for Bucholtz, Lowell, and Masterson
New York Yankees- You pretty much have to throw them into the mix for any big name available. Although Arod and Young would love to be united, he would have to play 2nd there and the Rangers wouldn’t need Cano if they’re leaving Ian there. Don’t see anything here.
Toronto- Don’t think he would accept a trade there, unless he wanted to play with good buddy Vernon Wells. Don’t see much of a match here anyways.
Chicago White Sox- This is probably the trading partner the Rangers need to keep their eye on the most. Ozzie Williams is a known Young admirer. Before the trade demand report broke, there was rumors of a Young for Dye and Poreda swap. But even more intriguing is the fact that from Oklahoma State QB Josh Fields appears to be fully ready for the bigs at 3rd. The Trade: Young for Dye, Fields, and Poreda/Broadway (don’t forget what Kenny Williams ponied up for Nick Swisher)
Los Angeles Angels- They have the players to get it done, but it is highly unlikely the Rangers would make a trade with a division rival unless they overpaid.
Oakland- Same principle applies. They are usually on the other side of these types of trades, but shocked the baseball world when they traded for Holliday.
Atlanta- They went hard after Furcal and missed out. Young is the type of player that Bobby Cox would love to manage. They’ve also shown interest in bringing back Millwood even though they added Vasquez earlier this year. Don’t see a deal here, but they do have some nice pitching prospects.
New York Mets- They would have to deal Castillo first, but an infield with Reyes, Wright, and Young would be pretty scary. Don’t really see a match, but they have some guys I really like with Pelfrey, Niese, and Marte.
Chicago Cubs- Would love to get them interested but I just don’t see it. Keep your fingers crossed that the new owner happens to be a member of the Michael Young fan club. Since Vitters is blocked by Ramirez, he would be ideal. Not sure how much more they would get, but the Cubs do have a couple young pitching prospects. The Trade: Young for Vitters and a pitching prospect
St. Louis- Tony LaRussa would love to have a guy like Young, but after just trading for Greene, I find it unlikely. They do have a solid 3B prospect in Wallace, and could definitely get a deal done if they wanted to.
Los Angeles Dodgers- Have a pretty crowded infield but love some of the names they have. Not really the space there.
San Diego- Have a young 3B in Kouzmanoff and some young pitchers, but seem to be in rebuilding mode.
San Francisco- Between Sanchez and Lowry, the Giants definitely have the parts to get it done but probably won’t be interested after singing Renteria for 2 years.
So there we have it. Let me just restate that those are the teams I can see Michael Young accepting a trade to. Anything can happen, but as it stands now, I see him staying here and reluctantly accepting the move to 3rd. Unless it’s a great move, hopefully the next post has to do with signing a starter or reliever.
First of all, happy new year everyone. It’s about this time of the year that Ranger fans start to get the itch for baseball again (especially with the Cowboys choking, the Mavs stuck in basketball purgatory, and the Stars massively underachieving to date). Spring training is only about 6 weeks away, and one question keeps bugging me. How different will the Rangers look when they report to Surprise in February?
Let’s first look at what moves have been made. Hiring Mike Maddux as the pitching coach might be the biggest and most important move of the offseason, but we';; look at the personnel moves first. After that, we’ll go into rumors and speculation of moves that might be in the near future.
- John Mayberry Jr. is traded to Philadelphia for Greg Golson- This is the type of trade that I’m suprised doesn’t happen more often in baseball. This trade for disappointing first round picks, brings a much needed change of scenery for both players. For Philadelphia, they get a corner outfield spot who has solid power potential, just hasn’t displayed it yet. If they can tap into his potential, they coulod have a nice corner outfield bat for years to come. For the Rangers, they import a prospect that Baseball America ranked already their best athlete, fastest base runner, and best outfield arm. You have to love what you hear there, but what has held Golson back is the very high strikeout numbers. If Rudy can work with him and he can drastically cut down on the k’s, watch out folks. He could be the Rangers CF for years to come, but with Julio Borbon and Engel Beltre waiting in the wings, a very nice prospect in a trade seems more likely.
- Kameron Loe is designated for assignment and sold to Japan- While some might think this is a slap in the face for a major league player, for some people it turns into a great opportunity and a very exciting experience. Kam will get paid a lot of yen for the next two years, and will get to start over there, an opportunity he wouldn’t have likely gotten here. We wish Kam all the best, and hope the devastated members of Kam’s snake pit can keep us updated on his process overseas.
- Gerald Laird is traded to Detroit for Guillermo Moscoso and Carlos Melo- The Rangers made the first trade in Sin City, finally finding a trade partner for one of their catchers. Although Laird was the most experienced and right now probably the best of the four catchers, his future was clearly not with the Rangers because of his age and agent (I’ll give you one guess). This now clears the path for Salty and Teagarden to battle it out for the job, with Ramirez starting the season in AAA awaiting the call. I’m still in favor of trading another catcher, but for any of the remaining three it MUST be for a young, ml ready, starter who is controllable for a number of years. Moscoso was ranked Detroit’s 10th best prospect and put up some impressive numbers last year, but is in my opinion way too old to be at AA. This will be a very telling year for Guillermo, as it would be nice to see good numbers at AAA, and possibly a late season call up. Melo is the wild card in the trade that could ultimately make this a steal for the Rangers. When the Rangers got Neftali Feliz in the Tex trade, most people just heard he was very raw but with a huge arm and a very high ceiling. Well, now Feliz was ranked the #9 prospect in all of baseball by mlb.com. Melo also has a huge arm and is only 17. Some Tigers officials were upset they included him in the deal, which is great news for us. Lets evaluate this trade in 2-3 years, and see what we think of it then.
- Wes Littleton is traded to Boston for Beau Vaughan and possibly a PTBNL- In a quiet move, the Rangers sent the side armer to Boston to ultimately free up a 40 man roster spot. The Rangers received Vaughan in return, another case of a player being too old for being at AA. Vaughan did have tremendous numbers there, and with a solid performance in OKC will likely find himself in the Rangers bullpen at some point in 2009. If you havent checked out the ASU’s grad photo on milb.com, do so immediately. If Wes Littleton makes the Red Sox roster, the Rangers will receive an additional player.
- The Rangers sign Derrick Turnbow and Casey Daigle to minor league deals with invites to Spring Training- Turnbow’s relationship with Maddux was obviously the reason for him choosing Texas. I think it’s a great signing that if he can get healthy and improve his control, could be a steal for the Rangers. Some might not know who Casey Daigle is, but I bet you know his wife, Jennie Finch. If he makes it on the Rangers at some point and she attends a game at the Ballpark, it’s a win for all Rangers fans.
Although the Cubs signing Milton Bradley doesn’t directly affect the Rangers (other than the sanwich pick they’ll get in the draft, somewhere around 41 probably), I’d like to wish him well and hope he stays on the field enough to help them out. To Jim Hedry: you’re nuts unless you just forgot the National League doesn’t have a DH.
Now onto my favorite part, the rumors. We’ll talk about current Rangers first, and discuss the free agents out there that the Rangers have been linked to.
The most likely to be traded is still Hank Blalock. Although not being able to play 3rd has hurt his value, teams that missed out on Tex could be looking for a 1B/DH guy on an affordable one year deal. Teams that could be interested: Giants, Twins
The trade that should happen but at this point doesn’t look like it will is Salty to Boston. This trade makes too much sense for both teams, but I understand why each team wont budge. Salty’s winter numbers were great, and the Red Sox need a catcher for the future. But they still feel like either Clay Bucholtz or 2 of Justin Masterson, Michael Bowden, and Nick Hagadone is too much to give up. Here’s hoping JD holds his ground and waits to them or another team to budge.
The trade the Rangers probably need to make to sign a big name free agent is trading either Kevin Millwood or Vicente Padilla. I’d still like to see Millwood go before Padilla, but if the return is enough and gives us the flexability to sign someone I’m all for it. Teams that miss out on one of the remaining free agents, could get either starter on a one year deal instead of a 3+ deal. Teams that could be interested: Braves, Brewers, Cardinals, Mets
Now onto the free agents, in order of likelihood that they end up with the Rangers:
Ben Sheets- There seems to be a lot of speculation that Sheets will end up at home (he has a house in HP). The Rangers would love to add a guy like Sheets, who when healthy, is a bonafide ace. But the injuries are worrisome, and the length of the contract is key. I’m still holding out hope that he lands here on a 2 year deal, but the Lowe and Perez signings could hold negotiations up.
Chad Cordero- The former closer for the Nationals is coming off a major injusry, and will throw for teams next week. The Rangers are interested, as they should be. If his medical reports turn out ok, I’m all for giving this guy 2 years.
Eric Gagne- The former Ranger had a rocky year with the Brewers, and will be looking for a one year deal. He also liked working with Maddux, and if the price is right, I’m all for bringing him back on a one year deal and hope history can repeat itself.
Derek Lowe- This was still my number one target of the offseason for the Rangers. It has been reported that the Mets have offer 3/36, and that Lowe won’t even consider it as he wants 16 million a year. For a guy who has never dealt with injuries, a sinker baller, and a very consistent, reliable starter, I’d love to see the Rangers offer 4/52. Not likely, but you never know.
Joe Crede- Would make a lot of sense for the Rangers if he was healthy, because he plays a great defensive 3rd and has some pop from the right side. But he is not healthy, so if for some reason Boras wants a low risk, high incentive 1 or 2 year deal, I’m interested.
Manny Ramirez- Don’t even think about it. As nice as his bat is, his defense is horrible and I don’t think he’d fit in the clubhouse. Any teams giving him more than two years will regret it.
Well, that’s pretty much a recap of all the major Ranger news from this offseason. I’ll probably write one big post right before Spring Training starts, unless there is a major signing or trade that goes down. All the best in 2009.
Wednesdays loss in Chicago was not only painful in the standings, but it affected the trade deadline as well. Kevin Millwood’s groin strain all but eliminates any chance the Rangers have at trading him. The series in Chicago did bring some promise though on several different fronts.
Hank Blalock looked very good in the field and showed signs of his old self at the plate. The Rangers have played their cards perfectly in this situation. They kept Davis up, and can now market Blalock as both a 3rd and 1st basemen. As expected, teams have now reportedly shown a lot of interest in him. If you look at my first Blalock post, you’ll see that I mentioned a couple teams I thought would be a good fit and might show some interest. Well, I seem to have been dead on in the two teams that are showing the most interest and that is the Dodgers and Twins. We just witnessed how much young pitching the Twins have, and I think they are the better fit who will be more agressive. I named my targets from them on the previous post, but if I’m JD, I might ask how much more it would take to get Francisco Liriano in a Rangers uniform. Would Blalock, Kasey Kiker, and Nelson Cruz be enough? Stay tuned…Blalock might be the best chip the Rangers have and are willing to trade right now.
In Minnesota, Vicente Padilla gave the Rangers just what they need, a dominating start and relief to potential suitors that a neck strain could possibly linger. When Padilla is on, he can be a very solid #2 or 3 starter for just about any team in baseball. Add that to the fact that he can be controlled for another 2 and a half seasons, and you have one of the best available starters on the market. The Rangers have made it known he is available for young, controllable starting pitching. I agree that our return package needs to be able to step into the rotation immediately, or at worst at the start of 2009. The latest reports have said the Yankees and Tigers are interested. Neither of those teams excite me that much, because the Tigers are pretty thin and the Yankees wouldn’t trade any of their prospects for Johan Santana, so why would they for Padilla? If Padilla pitches well tomorrow night, look for the amount of suitors to multiply exponentially.
It is now known throughout the major leagues that the Rangers have by far the most catching prospects in baseball. This is an amazing luxury that the Rangers can not afford to mess up. Gerald Laird, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Max Ramirez, and Taylor Teagarden all appear to be major league ready. The Rangers must be able to rank these players and decide who to keep, and who to trade. For offense, I currently rank them Laird, Salty, Ramirez, Teagarden. Defensively, I rank them Laird, Teagarden, Ramirez, Salty. As of right now, I would rank them overall as follows: Laird, Teagarden, Ramirez, Salty. With that being said, I would go with Teagarden and Ramirez as my catchers of the future. Laird is the oldest and is represented by Boras. And Salty might be the best bat of the group at the end of their carreer’s, but his defense will force him to change positions at some point. Teagarden will be a defensive whiz, and Ramirez could split time DHing and spelling Teagarden once or twice a week behind the plate. The two contending teams most looking for catching help are the Yankees and Marlins. Have not heard anything about the Marlins contacting us, but the Yankees have called on Gerald Laird since he is about to start a rehab assignment and appears to be healthy. If the Yankees wont part with their young prospects for Padilla, what about a package of Padilla and Laird? How about those two for Ian Kennedy and Melky Cabrera?
The last rumors I’ll touch on is that there have been reports of the Mets heavily scouting the Rangers over the past couple of days. My guess? They’re interested in an outfielder like Marlon Byrd or Frank Catalanotto. If this is the case I would take Aaron Heilman for either as I doubt they would part with Mike Pelfrey. Numerous teams have expressed interest in Eddie Guardado, most noticeably the Cardinals. JD has said they don’t plan on trading him or Jamy Wright. I disagree with this, if the package is right they both need to go. Last thing, I think we now know that CJ Wilson will not be the closer of the future. But here’s my prediction, the Rangers will not throw $75 million at K Rod this offseason. Why not? Because I believe the closer of the future is on the ball club right now. His name? Warner Madrigal.
For most teams, it would seem absolutely crazy to trade one or both of your top two starting pitchers, but this isn’t the case for the Rangers. Let me first state, that if we were to trade either one of these guys, I would expect to receive major league ready starting pitching in return. With that being said, let’s look at each pitcher and the pros and cons of trading them.
Kevin Millwood- Most would argue that Kevin Millwood has never lived up to expectations during his time in Texas. Although he isn’t a true ace, he was expected to be the best starter on the Rangers, and at times, he’s been far from that. Even though his value isn’t at its highest level right now, I still see this as a good time to trade him. Almost every contending team could use more pitching, and he would make a heck of a number 3 or 4 starter for a team when he’s healthy. I also think he is ready to move on from Texas and if the Rangers catch drift of that, I look for the highest bidder and move on. He has been great for the clubhouse, and has done a tremendous job mentoring young pitchers, but has not been consistent with his performances. He also is open about his distaste for working out which is probably a direct result of why he is never completely healthy. His contract isn’t great but isn’t terrible either. A team might like or hate the fact that they would have him for another two years after this season. If a team is willing to trade a major league ready starter, and another Type B prospect, then I make the deal aslong as they’ll eat most of his salary.
Vicente Padilla- After last season, who would have ever thought that he might be the Rangers starting pitcher with the most trade value. I would consider his first half outstanding by his standards. Even though his era and whip aren’t great, he’s still won 10 games already and has looked like a #2-3 starter at times. He has been the best starter for the Rangers this season. He’s had some rough outings lately and is a little dinged up, but a good start or two before the break could escalate his value even further. He does come with some baggage, but has been pretty well behaved in his time here in Texas. He does hit a lot of batters and has caused a fight or two, but a lot of people love his attitude and the way he protects his teammates. Padilla could step into a lot of rotations and be one of the best #3 starters in the game when he’s on his game. His contract might even be a bargain when he’s pitching well, and could be under a team’s control for two more years since there’s a club option in 2010. As with Millwood, I would want a major league ready starter but I would also want 2 prospects, probably an A and a B.
I’m not sure if I would trade both, but I would definitely try and deal one. I would rather trade Millwood, but if someone ponies up with more prospects for Padilla, I would probably make that deal. Next post, I’ll discuss suitors for both.
Yesterday, I discussed the options the Rangers have in terms of what to do with Milton Bradley. Today, I’m going to break down the most realistic suitors of Milton. Please note I’m not even considering any National League teams at this moment because I do not believe any of them would make a trade for him if he had to play the outfiield every day. Here are the teams in no particular order:
Boston Red Sox- This situation is easy to break down. If David Ortiz returns and is healthy, they will have no interest what so ever. If he suffers a set back however, things could get interesting in Bean Town with a 3 team sprint towards the AL East title. As good as they have played in Ortiz’s absence, their offense has taken a big hit (partially because Manny has missed some time as well). Although the Sox would mutch rather upgrade at shortstop, they would have to look at a big bat to help Manny and give the Sox some more pop. A lineup starting with Ellsbury, Pedroia, Drew, Manny, Bradley, and Youkilis would be pretty tough to beat. You also have to take into consideration the fact that Theo Epstein might be hesitant to deal with JD again after getting burned in the Eric Gagne trade. If Theo calls, I’m asking for Michael Bowden and Justin Masterson.
Detroit Tigers- Who would ever have thought their offense might need a boost half way through the season. But with Magglio Ordonex spending some time on the DL, and with Gary Sheffield showing his age, this is a team that could use some more help. Imagine if they got healthy and could run out a lineup of Granderson, Polanco, Ordonez, Cabrera, Bradley, Guillen and Pudge. Wow, that’s some firepower. But after injuries to Bonderman and Willis, they might be looking for a starter instead of a bat. Plus their farm system is extremely thin after the Cabrera/Willis trade. If I’m JD, I require Rick Porcello, one of Casey Crosby or Brandon Hamilton, and Nick Cassavechia (hey Nick) who would be a player to be named later.
New York Yankees- The Evil Empire, 200 million dollar payroll and all, needs some offensive help. They need starting pitching help as well which is why they signed Rangers cast off Sir Sidney Ponson. But the Yankees are limited at the DH position because they need to use it for Giambi at times as well as for Posada now with his fragile shoulder. Milton can still play some outfield, so a DH rotation among them would not be out of the question. When all their players are healthy, a lineup boasting Damon, Jeter, ARod, Abreu, Bradley, Giambi, Matsui, Cano, and Posada looks a hell of a lot better than what they’re running out there now. The Yankees refused to trade their young pitchers for Johan Santana, so dont expect that to change now. But just incase Brian Cashman called, I would tell him one of Ian Kennedy/Phillip Hughes and Melky Cabrera gets it done.
Tampa Bay Rays- The Rays find themselves in a division race for the first time in franchise history. They have the best and deepest farm system in baseball. The Rays are a match made in heaven for the Rangers if they decide to move any of their veteran players. Right now the Rays seem to be using Cliff Floyd and Eric Hinske at the DH spot on a regular basis. Floyd can’t play in the field but Hinske still can. Milton could easily split time between right field and DH with Hinske and the Rays would be instantly better and deeper. The Rays need to keep pace with the Red Sox and Yankees, and running out a lineup starting with Iwamura, Crawford, Upton, Bradley, Pena, Longoria, and Navarro is a pretty good start to go along with possibly the best rotation in the AL East. If Andrew Friedman is on the other line, tell him he can certainly afford to give up one of Jake McGee/Wade Davis and one of Jeff Niemann/Jeremy Hellickson.
As you can see, I sure think highly of Milton Bradley and think he has a ton of trade value despite missing some games in the first half. Other team’s fans might call me crazy in my asking price, but my response is simply…numbers don’t lie. And Milton’s are through the roof in a number of categories. But after watching the Josh Hamilton Show last night in the derby, and seeing the camaraderie between our 4 All Stars, I wouldn’t mind in the least bit him staying around for years to come. But like I said in my last post, a trade would help the Rangers get some major league ready players back for him, and he could sign with us next year.
Tomorrow: should we trade Kevin Millwood and/or Vincete Padilla?
This is potentially the most important decision the Rangers will have to make as the July non waiver trade deadline approaches. When the Rangers signed Milton during the off season, most fans saw it as a low risk move that could turn out like the Kenny Lofton and Eric Gagne signings. Both players contributed on the field, but their biggest contribution was their return packages which consisted of Max Ramirez for Lofton, and David Murphy, Kason Gabbard, and Engel Beltre for Gagne. Both deals look like a steal now, but the exciting thing is that Beltre might have the highest ceiling of the 4 players acquired, and is the only one to not contribute at the major league level yet.
But back to Milton. I think it’s safe to say that no one expected him to be as good as he has been. Sure there were encouraging signs, but he is actually closer to the AL triple crown than Josh Hamilton is. So if you’re the Rangers, what do you do with him? I’m still not sure exactly what I would do but I will say this…I’m a lot more concerned with his health than his temper or attitude. He has been nothing but great in the clubhouse since he got here and that’s always one of my biggest concerns on a player. Forget the Kansas City item, nothing ever happened. I would like to see him in the lineup a little more, but that’s my only complaint to this point. With that being said, let’s look at the Rangers different options with Bradley:
1. Do not trade him and have him accept arbitration or sign him to a multiyear deal- There is always the chance that they could sign him to a deal before the deadline or the end of the season, but that does not seem likely at this point. With his production this year, and the way he’s protected Josh, I have no problem with the Rangers locking him up long term. In negotiations, I would strongly encourage him to agree to a lower base salary (maybe 8-12 mil per), then have incentive bonuses, with the biggest bonus hinging on plate appearances. I do not go more than 3 years, and try and get a team option for the 4th year. How does 3 for 30 sound with incentives that could make it worth 13 a year? But then of course, this could happen…
2. Do not trade him, have him decline arbitration, and sign with another team- Assuming that he plays in atleast 50% of the games in the second half, Milton will definitely be a Type A free agent. Which means if the Rangers offer him arbitration and he declines, and then signs with another team, the Rangers will receive two draft picks as compensation. One of the draft pics would be in the 31-40 range (the sandwich round), and the other could either fall in the 16-30 or about 40-55 range based on this signing teams record in 2008. So obviously, you expect to get two elite level prospects with the picks. It is encouraging that this is perhaps the worst case scenario. And then there’s the last option…
3. Trade him and attempt to resign him in the offseason- This is an obvious risk since there is no gurantee he would return here after being traded. But since he has been a team player ever since arriving, he should understand that getting a significant return package then returning here next year would make the Rangers a better team for the future. The Rangers would HAVE to receive a package that is more attractive than two very high draft picks. The only unfortunate thing about this scenario is that Milton’s lingering injuries may have reduced his suitors to only AL teams. I would almost require a major league ready starting pitcher in any deal for him. However, you would have to forfeit a 1st or 2nd round pick to sign him, but if the return package was better than that, theres no problem with that.
Like I said before, this might be the most difficult and important decision the Rangers have to make all year. My gut tells me the best situation is to trade him before the deadline and monitor his health throughout the rest of the year. If he stays healthy and truly loved his time here, offer him a competitive, if not the best offer. The Rangers aren’t quite ready to make a run yet folks. But 2009 certainly could be with a few more moves like JD made last year. I’ll discuss possible matches tomorrow.
Let me praface this post by saying I’m a big Hank Blalock supporter. He’s done nothing wrong since reaching the major leagues except being injury prone. But it seems like the organization is ready to move on, as Hank’s fondness for the organization that drafted and developed him have also seemed to dwindle. I don’t think you can dispute the following two items. First, Chris Davis is ready for the majors and deserves to stay. And second, for some inexplicable reason, the Rangers are a better team with Ramon Vasquez in the lineup. So, what are the Rangers options?
1. Move him back to third base- This could work, but both parties seem interested at him moving him to first, and this would most likely keep Vasquez out of the lineup.
2. Play him at first and demote Davis- I understand trying to build his trade value, but there has to be another way than demoting Crash, I mean Chris.
3. Rotate Blalock and Davis between first and dh- This would be ok if we traded Milton Bradley or if his knee was healthy enough for him to play the outfield everyday. This could work, but don’t count on it.
4. Trade Hank- This would be the definition of selling low, but let’s take a look at what he might possibly be able to bring back.
After a quick glance at the other 29 teams and their 3b situations, I see four teams that might be interested in Blalock’s services and those are the Brewers, Dodgers, Phillies, and Twins. Now that we’ve identified what teams have a need or want an upgrade, let’s see if any match up.
Brewers- JD and Doug Melvin seemed to work well and both liked the package they got in the Carlos Lee deal so there should be no problems there. But what would they pay to get a fragile Blalock? They’ve made it known that Bill Hall is available but I’m not sure he would be an upgrade for the Rangers. They do have somewhat of a starting pitching surplus even with Gallardo out and Suppan hitting the DL. My target? Dave Bush. After his start last night his value has definitely gone up, but the Brewers seem to be going for it this year, and a middle of the order that featured Blalock, Braun, Fielder, and Hart would make them one of the most feared offenses in the NL. Bush has had an up and down career so far, but could be a nice, young back of the rotation starter for the Rangers. If the Brewers would do this deal, I pull the trigger.
Dodgers- There were rumors in the off season that the Dodgers were targeting Blalock for an upgrade at 3rd. Blake DeWitt has done an admirable job this season, but a healthy Blalock is a major upgrade. Even though the Dodgers sometimes seem gun shy to pull of a big trade, maybe they go for it and decide an upgrade at third is a must. I’d love to trade an ailing Blalock for an ailing Brad Penny, but don’t see this happening. I would take one of Hong Chih Kuo, Andre Ethier, or Andy Laroche but don’t see the Dodgers agreeing to part with one of them straight up for Blalock. Probably not a good match here.
Phillies- Have looked for an upgrade over Pedro Feliz for awhile now, but they seem to be more concerned with acquiring another starting pitcher. There farm system is fairly thin, and only see them trading their good prospects for a pitcher. Don’t see a match here either.
Twins- Mike Lamb hasn’t had the success he has normaly had as a super sub. The Twins are still in striking distance of the White Sox, and their offense looks a little bit better when you add Blalock to a lineup that includes Morneau, Mauer, Gomez, and Young. If they become interested, I tell them it’s a done deal for any starting pitcher not named Livan Hernandez. This list would include Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Boof Bonser, Glen Perkins, or Kevin Slowey. My gut tells me the Twins don’t consider trading one of those guys for Blalock unless Liriano comes back soon and regains his dominant form. Probably not a great match here either.
Of course, any one of these teams could offer the Rangers quanity instead of quality in the prospect department which they would have to think about. Hank will not fetch a top notch or type A prospect anymore so don’t expect that. If the Brewers or Twins somehow agree to one of the names I threw out, I think it’s a done deal. However, I ultimately believe the Rangers will not be able to move Hank before the deadline, and will instead shop him in the winter hoping that he stays healthy the rest of the season and puts up solid numbers so he can restore some of his value.
Hey there, my name is Ryan and this is my first blog. I’m a huge Rangers fan and love nothing more than watching or talking about the Rangers. As with many fans, I’m fascinated with the baseball operations department of an organization (I even had an interview for a position with the Rangers but did not get the job). My uncle is a scout for the Phillies, so baseball is definitely in my families blood. But enough about me, let’s talk about this blog.
I would love to write about every game and decision the Rangers make, but there is no need for my opinion on these matters. If you’re reading this, you have probably heard about the Newberg Report. I reccomend that every true Ranger fan read the report atleast once a week, or better yet, get on the mailing list. Jamie does a tremendous job of covering the Rangers “from top to bottom”, and I have no desire to write about anything he might cover since he does a great job. Plus, I’d say I agree with him about 98% of the time. Here is the link:
In Rangers Trade Talk, I plan to discuss moves the Rangers possibly could make including trades and free agents. I will discuss the team’s needs, other teams that match up well as a trading partner, and possible targets on the trading block or free agent market. Of course, I will also analyze significant moves the Rangers make, but I would strongly suggest reading the Newberg Report for a more thourough evaluation.
Feel free to comment on any post, but let’s keep it civil towards myself and other commenters. Reccomend my blog to other people if you enjoy it, and if you have any requests about topics you’d like me to write about, feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading and go Rangers!
Ryan C. Sablotny