Sunday, August 08, 2010

Deadline Trades

This week I’m going to get caught up on analyzing the Rangers’ trade deadlines deals. I’m late doing this because I was out of town last week on a baseball trip with my dad to Minnesota and Toronto. I was going to recap that trip this week but will wait until next week so that I can analyze the trades.

On July 30th, the Texas Rangers acquired 1B/3B Jorge Cantu from the Florida Marlins in exchange for RHP Omar Poveda and RHP Evan Reed.

Evaluation: Cantu is a big upgrade over Chris Davis, and even with Mitch Moreland getting plenty of playing time at first, Cantu is still playing enough to make a difference. For the season, he is hitting .263 in 388 at-bats, and has 10 home runs and 54 RBIs. He has exactly 100 career home runs. He is having a solid year, not great, not bad, but last year was one of the best years of his career, as he had his highest batting average (.289), his third most home runs (16), and his second most RBIs (100). He is okay defensively at first base, with 8 errors in 145 career starts at the position, and has never had a fielding percentage below .990 in any season at first. He is not going to steal many bases, with only 11 in his 7-year career, and 0 this year, and he is not going to hit too many home runs, but will hit a respectable amount, as his normal is around 15-25 home runs in a season. What he will do a lot of, though, is hitting doubles, with 41 in 2008 and 42 in 2009, and while he won’t hit that many this year (25 so far), he will get up into the 30s in that category, most likely. This will be his fourth major league team to play on in just his seventh year, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Cincinnati Reds, the Florida Marlins, and now the Texas Rangers.

Omar Poveda was ranked the 23rd prospect in the Rangers organization by Jamey Newberg in this year’s Bound Edition, and is a pretty good prospect despite his minor league numbers. In his five minor league seasons, his ERAs have been 5.71 (2005), 4.78 (2006), 3.22 (2007), 4.47 (2008), and 4.10 (2009). He hasn’t pitched this year due to Tommy John surgery.

Evan Reed was ranked 38th by Jamey this year, and, other than 2008, his stats have been incredible throughout his minor league career. He had a 1.91 ERA in 2007, a 2.96 ERA in 2009, and has a 1.69 ERA this year. Right now he is on the 7-day disabled list with a strained right elbow.

Grade: B, Cantu will be a good addition, not a great one, and we gave up two solid prospects for him. Poveda and Reed both have the potential to be good major leaguers, but Cantu should help us enough to make it a B.

On July 31st, the Texas Rangers acquired 2B Cristian Guzman from the Washington Nationals in exchange for RHP Ryan Tatusko and RHP Tanner Roark.

Evaluation: Cristian Guzman is a definite upgrade over Andres Blanco for the Rangers utility spot, and definitely better suited to fill in for Ian while he’s on the DL. So far this year he is hitting .272. He has good speed, and although he won’t steal many bases anymore, he is still speedy enough to go first-to-third and take an extra base. He is not very good defensively, as he has a career .971 fielding percentage, which is very, very low. He is a two-time All-Star (2001, 2008), but this is the last year of his contract, so he will be a free agent in the offseason. Andres Blanco is hitting just .230 this year, so Guzman should be a big help at the utility spot.

Ryan Tatusko, who just did an interview with me in my last post, is a great guy and I’m really sorry to see him go. He was always very nice to me, and he also did a great job doing the Backfield Diaries for the Newberg Report. He was ranked as the Rangers’ #72 prospect by Jamey, but that was before this season started, and he has had a great year. He was a Texas League All-Star, and he definitely deserved it. He has a 9-2 record and a 2.92 ERA in 104.2 innings pitched between the RoughRiders and the Harrisburg Senators.

Tanner Roark was ranked #58, but his ERA has risen for the second straight year, which isn’t good. After an outstanding 2.76 ERA in his first season in 2008, his ERA raised to a still very good 3.02, but then has raised to a mediocre 4.20 this season. He has a 10-5 record this year despite his above-4.00 ERA.

Grade: B+, Cristian will be a very good addition to this team, but Tatusko has had a great year, and has been raised on prospect lists, and Guzman’s defense really isn’t what you want out of a utility infielder. Still, this is a very good trade, just not an A-worthy one.

On July 31st, the Texas Rangers acquired RHP Roman Mendez and 1B Christopher McGuiness from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for C Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Evaluation: Jarrod Saltalamacchia was one of the Rangers’ biggest prospects in the trade in which he came here, but leaves as one of the Rangers’ biggest disappointments in the trade in which he leaves here. He played in just two major league games this season before going on the DL and then being sent to the minors. He really struggled in Triple-A Oklahoma City, hitting only .244 with 11 home runs and 33 RBIs. Those would be disappointing numbers in the majors, but they are very disappointing numbers in the minors. He has gotten injured with arm problems many times over the past couple of seasons. He has struck out 66 times this year, and walked just 26 times. He has never hit over .270 in his career, hitting .266 between the Braves and Rangers in 2007, hitting .253 in 2008, and then only .233 in 2009, in which he played the most games in his career. So not only has he had bad batting averages, they’ve gotten worse every year, which is not a good sign. He has never even gotten 35 RBIs in a major league season. His defense has never been good, with a fielding percentage consistently well below .990. He has also been terrible at throwing out base runners, and has allowed 139 stolen bases and thrown out just 36. With Oklahoma City this year, he allowed 46 stolen bases in only 54 attempts.

Roman Mendez has not had a very good year, with a 3-5 record and 5.94 ERA in his 15 starts. He has been very wild, walking 30 batters in 53 innings, but has also struck out a lot of hitters, with 61 Ks. But before this season, he had been dominant, with a 2.65 ERA and .222 opponents’ batting average in 2008, and a 1.99 ERA and .184 opponents’ batting average in 2009. He has a fastball that touches 100 MPH at times, and a very good slider.

Christopher McGuiness is hitting .291 this season with 12 home runs and 49 RBIs between Greensville and Bakersfield. He has walked 59 times and struck out 62 times, a very good ratio. He hit .337 in July, while playing in Low-A. His OBP this season was incredible for the Drive, at .416 due to a solid batting average and a boatload of walks.

Grade: A, the Rangers, along with me, had basically given up on Salty, and we get a hard-throwing starter, whose fastball and slider are somewhat like Carlos Marmol, and a solid hitter at a position where the depth has been eroded in the last few weeks.

Overall, I would give Jon Daniels an A+ for this trade deadline, based on how he’s helped this team and put them in a position to win.

Come back next week for a recap of my baseball trip to Minnesota and Toronto.

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