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The Rangers and Padres had been discussing relievers Heath Bell and Mike Adams for weeks. The Rangers seemed to prefer Adams, who has been more effective and is under control for one more season, to Bell, while the Padres preferred to move Bell. To get the pitchers they had targeted, the Padres relented, and numerous reports just an hour before the non-waiver trade deadline suggest that Adams is the one headed to the Rangers.
In return Jed Hoyer lands polished starting pitching prospects Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland. The pair was in the Frisco rotation, and Erlin, in fact, was scheduled to pitch tonight against San Diego’s Texas League affiliate San Antonio Missions. Both have been among the best performing pitching prospects in all of the minor leagues and have been moving up prospect lists.
Adams further upgrades a Rangers bullpen that yesterday added Koji Uehara, giving them two elite setup options in front of Neftali Feliz. That pushes Darren Oliver, Mark Lowe and others into earlier inning roles and should lower the club’s dependence on Feliz.
Adams and Uehara also give the club viable alternatives if they decide to move Feliz into the rotation in 2012 as a potential replacement for C.J. Wilson, who will be a free agent. Adams and Uehara will be free agents after the 2012 season themselves, so, given MLB’s antiquated player Elias based player ranking system, saves would beef up Adams’ status as a potential Type A compensation player.
The Rangers have made their first splash in the trade deadline market by adding Orioles setup man Koji Uehara, one of the best relief pitchers in major league baseball this season. To get him, Texas parted with two favorite sons, Tommy Hunter and Chris Davis.
For weeks Jon Daniels has been in the market for relief help, and Padres closer Heath Bell had appeared to be at the center of the discussion. Jed Hoyer reportedly started with an astronomical asking price and hadn’t reduced it enough for Daniels’ taste as the deadline approached. Daniels intensified his search elsewhere and came up with a reliever who has faced AL East competition in a much less favorable park than Bell’s, and has posted vastly superior numbers. In particular, strikeout to walk ratios are a fine exhibit of the strike zone dominance of a pitcher or hitter, and Uehara’s dominant 117:13 in his two seasons as a reliever tower over Bell’s 31:16 number that has declined by almost 50% from the past two years.
Uehara is not a hard thrower, but his impeccable control and arsenal of offspeed pitches allow him to have success against both left-handed and right-handed hitters. The Rangers will owe him about $1 million of his $3 million contract for 2011, and the Orioles kicked in $2 million, or half of his 2012 salary that kicks in if he makes 12 more appearances. He figures to slot in with Mark Lowe as the two primary right-handed setup men in the Rangers’ bullpen and allows Yoshinori Tateyama and Darren Oliver to be used more liberally in specialist situations.
The cost of Tommy Hunter and Chris Davis is an interesting contrast to most of the Rangers’ rumored trade talks, which were reported to involve highly regarded prospects. Several tweets from national reporters just after the deal became public suggested that Daniels could still be interested in pursuing Bell or another reliever.
Davis has been a tease for Rangers fans. He’s been a stereotypical 4A hitter for the past three years after bursting onto the scene by hitting .285/.341/.549 in 2008 as a rookie. Most troubling, despite his absurd power show at Round Rock this year – he’s hit 24 home runs and posted an absurd .368/.405/.824 slash line – he still managed to not control the strike zone (58 SO, 11 BB), and he’s made no significant changes to a swing that has not worked against major league pitching.
Davis is in his last option year, which means that starting in 2012 his team must either keep him on the major league roster or subject him to league-wide waiver claims. That means no more time for swing progression and most likely a bench role in the near future if he had stayed with the Rangers. He profiles as the kind of hitter who may figure things out in his late 20’s, but because of his option situation (as with many of those hitters) it just wasn’t likely to happen with his original team.
Hunter’s inclusion in a trade for immediate help represents impressive restraint by Daniels. The temptation for most general managers is to pay more promising minor league players in deadline deals, rather than risking anyone who could contribute to the team. Daniels choosing to go a route that sent two players currently contributing to the club allowed him to reduce the overall price and keep his options for additional deals open.
Hunter was the fifth of five high picks in the 2007 draft and was pitching in the major leagues before the end of 2008. He made 41 starts for good teams in 2009 and 2010 and pitched like someone with the potential to be an innings eater. He also struggled mightily in three playoff starts last fall and may already be very near his ceiling as a third or fourth starter for a midleague caliber team. That's solid value for a poor Orioles team that is trading a 36-year-old reliever, but it doesn't match the upside of a group of high level minor league arms discussed in other deals, and that's important for the Rangers.
The deal is expected to become official late Saturday or early Sunday.
The latest and greatest trade rumors surrounding the Texas Rangers have them after a bullpen arm - which isn't terribly surprising. It is, however, a bit surprising that Andrew Bailey of the Oakland Athletics is rumored to be the most likely addition to Texas' bullpen - at least according to Brady Tinker of Fox Sports Southwest.
This report comes in conjunction with Jim Bowden's saying that the Padres and Rangers aren't making progress towards a trade that would bring Heath Bell to Texas. Bowden predicted that the standoff between San Diego and Texas would go down until the deadline itself.
Jayson Stark reported earlier today that Texas had been balking at San Diego's asking price on Bell as well - which was three of Texas' top 12 prospects in their system. Despite Bell's recent successes, that price is simply too high to pay for a two month rental for a pitcher that hasn't been dominant.
Jon Daniels could now indeed have his sights set on making a trade with Billy Beane and the A's for Bailey.
It appears that the asking price is indeed quite high for San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell. ESPN's Jayson Stark said that rival executives expect to see Bell in Texas before the deadline is over - but that the Rangers are currently balking at the asking price - and I would be too. The asking price is apparently three of Texas' top dozen prospects, which is a price that is far too high for a closer who has simply not been dominant this year - and is a free agent after the end of the season.
Other clubs still expect the Rangers to wind up with Bell. In fact, an official of one team who has been speaking with them went so far as to call it "a lock." But an executive of another club said Texas believes it's the only team out there that's pursuing Bell and truly matches up with the Padres' shopping needs. So Texas continues to balk at the asking price, which could be up to three of the Rangers' top dozen prospects, according to one executive who has spoken with both teams.
If the Rangers have to give up even two of their top 10 prospects for Bell, then that's likely too much. It'd make more sense to use three top prospects among others in a package for Colorado Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez than it would for two months of Bell.
The Texas Rangers have been linked to Heath Bell for quite some time now in trade rumors, and it appears that the Rangers and the Padres have hit a wall in negotiations. According to Jim Bowden, the two clubs are in a "stand-off" and are not making progress towards a deal that would bring Bell to Texas. Bowden also notes that the stand-off is going to go right down to the deadline.
This is likely good news for the Rangers and their fans. It would almost certainly be foolish for the Rangers to overpay for two months of Bell, despite the bullpen woes. Rumors from San Diego's camp have maintained that the Padres are after top prospects - or at least ones that would exceed the value of the two draft selections that San Diego would receive as compensation if Bell left for in free agency this winter.
That the Rangers aren't caving into San Diego's demands likely means that the price Texas would pay isn't too high. Still, the possibility remains that another team such as the Phillies or Cardinals could swoop in and acquire Bell.
The Texas Rangers have been linked to both relievers, with Olney saying back on July 17 that the Rangers were the favorite to land either Bell or Adams in a trade. Olney at the time was citing the ever popular "rival executives."
With Carlos Beltran ready to head to San Francisco, it's likely that the Rangers are going to focus their attention on acquiring a reliever to help shore up the bullpen, especially after last night's meltdown.
Jon Daniels would be well served not to make a trade as a knee-jerk reaction to last night's game, though, as Heath Bell will likely cost the Rangers at least one premium prospect. Bell has been good this year, with a 1.16 WHIP while holding opponents to a .216 average, but his K/9 is down to 6.75 - a far cry from the 11.06 it was in 2010. Bell has been good, but not dominant.
Adams, meanwhile, has been dominant setting Bell up. Bell has a .72 WHIP on the season, surrendering just 24 hits in 46 innings while walking just nine and striking out 47. Adams is likely to cost more than Bell, since Bell is an impending free agent.
We'll see in the coming days what, if anything Jon Daniels has up his sleeve for the 2011 Rangers.
It looks like the Rangers lost out on Carlos Beltran after all. The New York Mets have reportedly agreed to trade Beltran to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for Zach Wheeler - and potentially two other lesser prospects, though that is not confirmed.
Jon Heyman tweeted that the Rangers made a nice offer on Beltran - and that the Mets essentially just used that as leverage against the Giants, getting them to increase their offer.
As Adam Morris at Lone Star Ball pointed out, Wheeler was ranked as the 35th best prospect on Baseball America's midseason top 50, one spot behind Rangers prospect Robbie Erlin.
That the Rangers missed out on Beltran isn't surprising - and it's not surprising that he's going to end up a member of the Giants. The Padres and the Mariners are the only two teams that have scored fewer runs than the Giants have this season.
Texas is likely to focus on obtaining a reliever once again now that Beltran has been moved.
Rosenthal didn't give specifics on why Beltran will not head to Texas. It's unclear if the Rangers are unwilling to meet New York's asking price, or if Beltran is unwilling to go to Texas. Just yesterday it had been reported by Jon Heyman that the Rangers would likely be the team making the best offer for Beltran.
It's possible that the Rangers could have shifted their priorities after last night's loss to the Twins - a game in which the Rangers and closer Neftali Feliz blew. Heath Bell, Mike Adams and Koji Uehara are relievers that the Rangers have been linked to in the past week alone.
Rosenthal believes that Beltran will likely end up as a member of the San Francisco Giants, who have a much more dire need for offensive help than the Rangers, so it's certainly possible that the Giants will simply have a better package on the table than Texas.
Despite reports last week that Ubaldo Jimenez was likely to stay in Colorado, it appears that there's a good chance that Jimenez won't be a member of the Colorado Rockies next week. Joel Sherman reported on Tuesday that the Rockies "want to find a trade" for Jimenez. This is in conjunction with Jon Paul Morosi's report that there is a 50/50 chance that Jimenez is dealt before the trading deadline.
As is tradition, the Yankees and Red Sox are among the teams available in Jimenez. The Rangers, Reds, Blue Jays and Tigers have also been linked to Jimenez. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports believes that the Yankees have the best chance of acquiring Jimenez if he is indeed dealt.
The Rockies are going to ask for the moon in return for Jimenez - and rightfully so. If the Rangers are going to be serious players for Jimenez, Martin Perez would almost certainly have to be involved as well as other top organizational prospects.
strong belief now best beltran offer may come from #rangers. 1 hangup: he prefers nl. atl, sf, milw still in
Beltran would be foolish not to accept a trade to the Rangers, but it is possible that he'd force New York's hand to keep him in the National League.
Heyman, of course, didn't get into any specifics on what the Rangers would have to offer, but Texas has the best farm system of all the teams that have been linked in Beltran rumors.
Texas had been reported as a serious player for Beltran multiple times in the past week by Buster Olney of ESPN as well as Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports.
It'll be interesting to see how it plays out and if the Rangers can acquire both Beltran and relief help - or if they settle on one or the other.
Jon Paul Morosi tweeted earlier on Sunday that the Rangers are interested in Carlos Beltran because they view him as an impact addition to the lineup, but otherwise, aren't particularly in the market for hitting.
Rangers are interested in Beltran because of the potential impact but aren't desperate to add a bat otherwise.
This isn't terribly shocking news, since Texas' lineup is pretty good. Beltran definitely qualifies as an impact bat, even after undergoing microfracture surgery last year. Beltran is hitting .290/.391/.519 for the Mets on the season, with 15 home runs, 30 doubles and 57 walks against 60 strikeouts.
As part of Beltran's contract, he cannot be offered salary arbitration after this season, so a team that trades for him and then fails to re-sign him will not be able to receive draft pick compensation.
As the non-waiver trading deadline approaches in the MLB, the trade rumors are, of course, heating up. It's no secret that the Rangers have been looking for relief help, and once again Texas is rumored to be after a different reliever. Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun has heard that the Rangers are among the potential suitors for Orioles reliever Koji Uehara.
There is a lot of action on Uehara right now. The Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers are among the potential suitors that I have heard, but I'd have a hard time believing that any of the contending clubs couldn't find a spot for the right-handed reliever. I think there is some concern industry-wide about Uehara's durability and his age (36), and that's understandable
Uehara has been excellent for Baltimore this year, with a microscopic .70 WHIP to go along with a 1.84 ERA while holding opponents to a .150 batting average. Uehara has also struck out 58 while walking just eight in 44 innings.
Uehara is making three million dollars this year, and he has a four million dollar vesting option for next season. That option kicks in if Uehara appears in 55 games, or finishes 25 games. With 40 appearances so far on the season, it's almost a lock that Uehara's option will kick in for 2012.
The trading deadline in the MLB is just over a week away, and the Texas Rangers look like they've been busy so far - at least in trade negotiations. Buster Olney tweeted that the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes is down to five serious suitors, including the Rangers.
Source: Carlos Beltran trade talks down to five serious teams, which includes BOS, SF, PHI, ATL, TEX. CLE, PIT basically out of conversation.
Of course, any deal for Beltran comes with a bit of risk. First off, Beltran's contract states that he cannot be offered salary arbitration after it expires following the 2011 season, so if he leaves in the offseason, the Rangers would not receive draft pick compensation.
Secondly, even though he's enjoying a very good season, his knees remain a major concern. Anytime an athlete has microfracture surgery on his or her knees, it's a big deal and it's something that could have long lasting effects. Going to the American League and being able to serve as the designated hitter on some days would certainly serve Beltran and his knees well.
Buster Olney and Jon Heyman reported Sunday that the Rockies are accepting offers for Ubaldo Jimenez. Despite his down season, after watching him in Denver Thursday I think that the Rangers should be willing to make a serious offer including Matt Harrison and Martin Perez to try to convince the Rockies to deal him.
Despite reporting on Friday that the Philadelphia Phillies are the favorites to acquire San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell, Buster Olney tweeted on Sunday that the Texas Rangers are now considered the favorites to land either Heath Bell or Mike Adams.
Olney cited "rival executives" in his tweet:
Texas is all over the bullpen market,and they are considered by rival executives as a favorite to land either Heath Bell or Mike Adams.
Bell hasn't been nearly as dominant as he has the last few years. So far in 2011, Bell has a 1.18 WHIP and 2.61 ERA and has only blown two saves on the year. However, Bell's strikeout rate is the worst it's been in his career, striking out 26 in 38 innings - good for a 6.63 K/9 rate. By contrast, in 2010, Bell's K/9 was 11.06.
Mike Adams has pitched better than Bell this year, serving as one of Bell's setup men. Adams has 19 holds to go along with a 1.29 ERA, .71 WHIP and .155 bating average against. He has struck out 41 batters in 42 innings while walking just seven.
It is unknown what type of prospects would head to San Diego in a trade for either, but hopefully the Rangers won't be giving up too much for either - assuming, of course, that Olney's report is accurate.
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