With less than two weeks remaining before the baseball trade deadline, the Texas Rangers could be in the mix to make an addition to their roster in an effort to make a third-consecutive trip to the postseason.
The Rangers have been busy the last two seasons before the deadlines, making four big trades. The good news for the Rangers is that in hindsight the Rangers have gotten the best of the majority of the deals.
Here’s a look back at each of them and how they played out.
July 1, 2010 – Rangers send RHP Chris Ray and RHP Michael Main to San Francisco for C Bengie Molina
This was the first big trade for the Rangers, who were still cash strapped at the time. Molina gave Texas a catcher to offset a disappointing season by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. He only hit .240 for the Rangers in the regular season in 57 games but provided a veteran behind the plate. He also had a memorable game in Boston, hitting for the cycle. Molina also shined in the ALDS and ALCS, hitting a key homer against the Yankees in the ALCS. Molina didn’t retire after the season but didn’t sign with anyone either and eventually retired. Ray, who was acquired by the Rangers in 2009 in the Kevin Millwood trade, was solid in 35 games for the Rangers and pitched in 28 games for the Giants that season too. He signed with Seattle following the 2010 season and is now with Oakland. Main, a first-round pick by the Rangers, was slowed by an illness. He never made it past Double A with either the Rangers or Giants and is now trying to make it as an outfielder with Miami, where he’s playing in rookie ball.
What each team has left as result of trade: Rangers – nothing; Giants – nothing
Winner: Give the edge to the Rangers only because they had a need at catcher in 2010 and Molina filled it for them. Main never made it so the Rangers didn’t lose anything with him.
July 9, 2010 – Rangers send 1B Justin Smoak, infielder Matt Lawson, RHP Blake Beavan, RHP Josh Lueke to Seattle for LHP Cliff Lee, RHP Mark Lowe and cash.
The price seemed steep for Lee, who came along with a then injured Lowe and cash to Texas. Smoak, a former first rounder, was in his rookie season with the Rangers and Beavan was a first-round pick too playing for Double-A Frisco. Lee only won four games for the Rangers in the regular season but went 2-0 against Tampa Bay, including pitching Texas to its first ever series win in Game 5. He was dominant again in the ALCS but went 0-2 in the World Series and then signed with Philadelphia in the offseason. Lowe struggled last year but was a solid bullpen contributor this season before going on the disabled list last month. While the Rangers lost Lee, they did draft outfielder Zach Cone with the pick they received for losing Lee. Cone is an everyday player now for Class A Hickory. While Lee wasn’t going to sign with the Mariners after the season, the haul Seattle got in return hasn’t exactly paid off. Smoak has 33 homers in his time with Seattle and is hitting just .201 this season and there’s been talk of sending him to the minors. Beavan has won nine games in two seasons for Seattle but has failed to solidify a spot in the rotation. Lawson hasn’t advanced past Double A and is now with the Cleveland organization. Lueke was traded to Tampa Bay as part of the deal which landed the Mariners John Jaso. He’s pitched in 32 innings in the majors the last two seasons.
What each team has left as result of trade: Rangers – Lowe, Cone; Mariners – Smoak, Beavan, Jaso
Winner: Just because of what Lee gave the Rangers in the postseason, Texas has the edge. Lowe has also been serviceable as a reliever. There are no guarantees Smoak or Beavan will make it with Seattle.
July 30, 2011 – Rangers send 1B Chris Davis and RHP Tommy Hunter to Baltimore for RHP Koji Uehara and cash
The Rangers needed to bolster their bullpen at the deadline and they thought Uehara would be one of the key pieces. He was dominant in Baltimore with a 1.72 ERA in 43 appearances. That dominance didn’t carry over with Texas though as Uehara struggled with his new surroundings, posting a 4.00 ERA with Texas. He struggled in the postseason and was left off the World Series roster. Uehara did rebound this season and worked his way back into a more prevalent role in the Texas bullpen with a 2.11 ERA in 20 appearances. Uehara went on the disabled list last month with a strained right lat but is close to returning. Davis, who was out of options, needed a change of scenery. He hit .276 in 31 games with Baltimore last year and is batting .260 this season with 14 homers and 41 RBI. He still strikes out too much, but has played in 77 games and has made some starts in the outfield. Hunter went 3-3 in 11 starts with Baltimore last year but had a 5.06 ERA. That number looks good to what he’s done this year though, as he’s 3-4 with a 6.11 ERA and has been sent to the minors a couple of times. Hunter, who had a solid spring and won a rotation spot, started Wednesday for Baltimore after getting sent down to make room on the roster for Jim Thome.
What each team has left as result of trade: Rangers – Uehara; Orioles – Davis, Hunter
Winner: Let’s go with a push here for now. Uehara didn’t pan out last season but has pitched better this year. Davis has been decent for the Orioles. Hunter hasn’t. But both players are still under team control after this year while Uehara is a free agent.
July 31, 2011 – Rangers send LHP Robbie Erlin and RHP Joe Wieland to San Diego for RHP Mike Adams
A day after Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the club was likely done making any deals; they added the best set-up man available in Adams. Adams was strong down the stretch for Texas, allowing runs in just three of his final 18 appearances and finishing the regular season with a 2.10 ERA for the Rangers. He’s struggled with his mechanics some this season but has been a reliable set-up man for Joe Nathan, appearing in 37 games already and posting a 2.93 ERA despite giving up more than a hit per inning pitched. Wieland was a hot commodity at the time of the trade and dominated in Double A last season. He made five starts for the Padres this year, going 0-4 with a 4.55 ERA. Unfortunately he hurt his elbow in May and will now undergo Tommy John surgery, putting him out for the remainder of this season and likely part of 2013. Erlin, a third-round pick for the Rangers, is still just 21. He was in Double A when the trade happened and is still in Double A for the Padres. Like Wieland, Erlin is also hurt. He strained an oblique in May and has had elbow issues since then.
What each team has left as result of trade: Rangers – Adams; Padres – Wieland, Erlin
Winner: The Rangers could still lose Adams to free agency after this season but at least he’s contributing at the big-league level. The Padres made the trade for the future but injuries to both pitchers have clouded that future – at least temporarily. The edge goes to the Rangers because at least they are getting something out of the trade as of now.