Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rangers Moves

This week the Rangers made many moves. The first was a trade with the Tigers in which they traded a player to be named later or cash considerations to Detroit for left-handed-reliever Clay Rapada. They then traded Kevin Millwood and $3 million dollars to Baltimore for Chris Ray and a Rule-5 draft pick that ended up being Ben Snyder. They then signed Rich Harden. Last, they seem to be on the verge of trading Max Ramirez to the Red Sox for Mike Lowell and $9 million. I will cover all of these, even the Ramirez/Lowell one, which isn’t a done deal.

Trade Evaluation (PTBNL or CC for Clay Rapada): Clay is 28 years old and is on the 40-man roster. He has only pitched 27.1 major league innings, and has a 4.94 ERA in those innings. He was 4-2 with a 2.76 ERA with AAA Toledo last year in 45.2 innings. In 2008 with Toledo, he had a 2.31 ERA in 35 innings pitched. This seems like a good trade to me, since we are giving up very little (and possibly nothing but cash) for a good left-handed pitcher. This is such a low-risk trade, there’s almost no way it could end up bad, but could end up very well.
Grade: A

Trade Evaluation (Millwood for Ray and Snyder): Chris Ray was dominant three years ago, as he had a 2.73 ERA with 33 saves and 51 strikeouts in 66 innings. Then in 2008, he had a 4.43 ERA along with 16 saves in 42.2 innings before getting injured and having to go through Tommy John surgery. When he came back from the surgery last year he had a 7.27 ERA in 43.1 innings pitched. But it’s normal for players to struggle in their first year back after Tommy John surgery. If he can come back from the surgery to his ’07 form, this could end up being a great trade, since we used the freed-up money to get Rich Harden, but it is also a risky one, because if he can’t come back from his surgery and pitch well, then we basically gave up Millwood for Rule-5 pick Ben Snyder. Ben Snyder, being a Rule-5 draft pick, has to stay on the major league team the whole season, or else he will return to his former team (the Giants). He has never pitched in the majors before, but with AA Richmond last year, he had a 2.88 ERA with 36 strikeouts in 97 innings pitched. He can also be a spot starter, as he started five games for Richmond. But we had to give up a lot, as Millwood went 13-10 last year for the Rangers, with a 3.67 ERA in 198.2 innings pitched. That was after having an ERA over five each of the two seasons before that. The Rangers did a good job with the money from trading Millwood, by signing Harden, and hopefully trading for Lowell, but I wish that they had gotten more for Millwood, and that they didn’t have to act like a small-market team by trading away money to make other moves. All in all, I think this trade was just okay.
Grade: B-

Free Agent Signing (Rich Harden): Rich had a solid year last year, going 9-9 with a 4.09 ERA for the Cubs in 141 innings pitched. That was after having a 10-2 record with a 2.07 ERA between Oakland and Chicago in 2008 in 148 innings. He is very injury-prone, as he has not thrown 150 innings in a year since 2004, but when he does pitch, he can be dominant. This is a very good signing, if he can stay healthy, as he could put us over the top and deep into the playoffs.
Grade: A+

Trade Evaluation (Ramirez for Lowell): If it goes through, this is a great trade, as Max Ramirez’ stock seemed to be dropping, and he didn’t seem to fit into the Rangers plans for the future anymore. He only hit .234 with 5 home runs and 43 RBI’s in AAA Oklahoma City in an injury-plagued 2009, and really seemed to fall out of the plans. Mike Lowell will be a great addition to the Rangers, if he can stay healthy, as he has problems with his hip. He hit .290 with 17 home runs and 75 RBI’s in 2009 with Boston, with almost identical stats in 2008, after having a career year in 2007, hitting .324 with 21 home runs and 120 RBI’s. Lowell can play third, first, and he can DH. It is not clear whether he will start or be a utility man yet next year, but either way this is a great trade.
Grade: A+

Come back next week for a summary of the Newberg Bound Edition Release Party.

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