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MLB Trade Rumors: Rangers Pursuing Bengie Molina

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Rumor Alert

The Rangers and Giants are seriously discussing a trade that would send Bengie Molina to Texas, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi hears the deal could be completed within 24 hours (Twitter link). Sabean would not discuss specifics, but acknowledged to Morosi that he would consider offers for the catcher.

MLB Network is discussing it right this second.

Unless (and perhaps even if) the Rangers give up nothing for him, I'm not sure I'm cool with this.

UPDATES

Source says #Giants will not get either Davis or Saltalamacchia in proposed Molina deal. #Rangers #MLB

That's a little relief.

 

One source indicated that the deal could be consummated within the next 24 hours.

. . .

Sabean said Wednesday that the team would prefer to add left-handed hitters who are under control beyond the end of this season. First baseman Chris Davis and catcher/first baseman Jarrod Saltalamacchia are among the Rangers who match that description; both are currently in the minor leagues.

The first part is worrisome, the second part is downright frightening. I don't want to give up a warm body for Molina, let alone a young player with a real chance of contributing something to an MLB roster in the future.

To begin with, it just doesn't seem necessary. Matt Treanor, despite some poor luck, has been much better than Molina so far this season, despite splitting time with Max Ramirez. Ramirez, too, has already produced nearly as much value per FanGraphs as Molina. Molina's put up 0.3 WAR so far this season, after 1.5 last year, and something in the range of a 20% downgrade upon shifting to the superior league isn't out of the question. I see no reason to expect the Rangers can't keep getting that from their catcher platoon going forward.

 

The one reason to do this would be defense, and color me skeptical. Beyond the Boxscore's latest catcher rankings, released on the 29th, have Molina almost three runs below average so far in the season. Treanor, meanwhile, has been nearly two runs above. Catcher defense is nebulous, but I just find it hard to believe there's something Molina does so much better than Treanor/Ramirez that the risk of a serious offensive downgrade is worth giving up anything.

Not to mention the contract. The Rangers are getting passable, at worst, production from their catchers for just about league minimum. Molina is being paid 4.5 million this season, money that would take away from the possibility of going out and getting a Cliff Lee or anyone else who would be an actual improvement, rather than someone who's just a new name.

I don't get this. And I'm hoping it's either a crazy rumor, or the Rangers are damn sure they know something about catcher defense that is wildly more supportive of the gains Molina would provide than anything else I can find.

This had just better not be random panic.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.