Tag: 2010 MLB Trade Deadline

Jon Daniels’ Trade History: How the 2010 Texas Rangers Became AL Champions

On October 4, 2005, the 2010 Texas Rangers took steps to becoming the first team in franchise history to win a playoff series.

Tack onto that another playoff series win, advancing to the World Series for the first time in franchise history and instilling a long-lost hope for baseball in North Texas.

This is the day that general manager John Hart stepped down from his position, leaving 28-year old Jon Daniels in charge of a team that had not reached the playoffs since 1999.

Daniels was given a team with arguably the most talented young infield in the game in  Alfonso Soriano, Mark Teixeira, Michael Young and Hank Blalock.

However, only one of these promising players was on the Rangers World Series roster in 2010.

Let’s take a look at how Jon Daniels’ trade success (and failure) led to a team that came out of nowhere to capture the imaginations of fans across the country.


The Alfonso Soriano Trade

Days after being handed the team, Daniels made his first big trade as GM. It was also one of his worst. Daniels shipped off Soriano to the Washington Nationals for outfielder Brad Wilkerson, outfielder Termell Sledge and pitcher Armando Galarraga.

Wilkerson’s time in Texas was incredibly unfulfilling, leaving Texas after two years with a batting average for the Rangers of .228 while playing in only 214 games out of a possible 324.

Sledge is most remembered in Texas as being involved in another bad Daniels trade, one we’ll discuss later.

Armando Galarraga, unlike Sledge, did find success in the majors, throwing a near perfect game in the summer of 2010—for the Detroit Tigers. Galarraga finished his career in Texas with a 6.23 ERA and was traded to Detroit in 2008 for Michael Hernandez.

All Soriano did for the Nationals was hit 46 home runs while also stealing 41 bases, finishing third in the MVP balloting.

He then went onto a good career as a Chicago Cub being of the select few that can combine plus power and plus speed.

Strike out.


The Adrian Gonzalez Trade

Texas Rangers fans have played the “what if” scenarios over and over again in their heads over this one. A month after the Soriano trade, Daniels got the itch again and dealt the incredibly talented first base prospect Adrian Gonzalez to San Diego along with starting pitcher Chris Young and the aforementioned Termell Sledge. Texas received in return (get ready to cringe) starting pitcher Adam Eaton, relief pitcher Akinori Otsuka and Billy Killian.

Adam Eaton had a career ERA of 4.34 with the Padres, never winning more than 11 games in a season before being sent to Texas. As a Ranger he made 13 starts with a 5.12 ERA, leaving after the season.

Billy Killian has been a career minor leaguer for the Rangers, White Sox and Orioles.

The one success from this trade for the Rangers was Otsuka. Otsuka pitched for the Rangers for two seasons, recording 36 saves and owning a miniscule 2.25 ERA. He has not pitched in the majors since 2007.

On the other hand, San Diego found success in Young, who won 33 games over five years, owning an ERA of 3.60.

What happened to Gonzalez? He is now considered one of the best all-around first basemen in the game. He mans first for the Boston Red Sox and has hit over 32 homeruns four of the past five seasons while also hitting for a high average.

Swing and Miss.


The Nelson Cruz Trade

The trade that started to turn things around for the Daniels administration occurred in July of 2006. The Rangers acquired Nelson Cruz, the starting right fielder for their World Series run. Yet Cruz was not the acquisition ranger fans were most excited about.

On July 28, and in the thick of a playoff push, Daniels pulled the trigger on a deal that would send Francisco Cordero, Laynce Nix, Kevin Mench and Julian Cordero to the Milwaukee Brewers for Cruz and highly sought-after Carlos Lee.

Lee was expected to come in and lead the Rangers to the playoffs for the first time in seven years.

It was not to be, and Lee bolted south after the season to the Houston Astros. The trade appeared to be destined for disaster early.

After a few years of struggling between AAA Oklahoma City and the big league club, however, Nelson Cruz finally put together all the pieces to his enormous potential at the end of the 2008 season.

He then became an All-Star in 2009 and carried that over into the rangers’ memorable 2010 run. Cruz batted in the heart of a potent Rangers offense and delivered time and time again, with the numbers to back him up.

Although not apparent at first, the Cruz trade contributed overall to the Rangers’ incredible run about as much—if not more—than the next few (higher profile) trades.


The Mark Teixeira Trade

This trade, at the end of Daniels’ career, will be the one he is most remembered for. On July 31, 2007, amidst high speculation, Daniels traded superstar Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay to the Atlanta Braves for a group headlined by Jarrod Saltalamacchia signaling to Ranger fans that the team was in full-on rebuilding mode.

Teixeira’s career, before and after the trade, has been one that makes you wonder whether the trade was a success or an epic failure. Gold Gloves, Silver Sluggers, All-Star appearances, and a bevy of other awards are those owned by Teixeira.

Why trade arguably the best young hitter and defender in baseball at his position for any amount of prospects. The stats show that many high profile prospects fizzle out in the pros and never amount to anything.

Daniels knew that the entire organization needed an overhaul, and the chance to acquire five top prospects for Teixeira was a risk that needed to be taken. If just two of the prospects flourish in the majors, you can count the trade a success. So who was it going to be to succeed and make Daniels look like a genius?

Saltalamacchia? The centerpiece of the deal? If you had to put your money on someone to be the superstar, it would probably be the one that gets the most recognition at the time of the trade.

Well, Salty’s career has been nothing short of disappointing; he has failed to live up to the hype. As a Ranger, he owned a .243 batting average with 19 homers over four seasons. He is now currently residing on the Boston Red Sox roster.

Beau Jones hasn’t seen the majors since the trade and is currently playing for the Rangers AAA affiliate in Round Rock.

Matt Harrison was a highly touted Braves’ prospect at the time of the trade and has had an up-and-down career. He is the Rangers’ No. 3 starter and started the 2011 season 3-0 while going at least seven innings and not allowing more than one run a game.

Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus were both just 18 at the time of the trade—Feliz, a rookie-level right handed fireballer, and Andrus, a shortstop in High-A ball. These names, just prospects at the time, have turned into the crown jewels of the trade.

Andrus was ranked by Baseball America as being the Braves No. 2 overall prospect before the trade and was heralded as a possible Gold Glove defender. Jamey Newberg, noted blogger for the Rangers, made this comparison between Andrus and floundering Rangers prospect at the time Joaquin Arias:

“Andrus shows the plus range, plus arm, and fluid hands that Arias has always shown, not to mention the athleticism and promise of offensive productivity as his body matures. He exhibits an advanced ability to use the entire field with the bat, his walk rates are unusually good, and he’s an instinctive player in all phases.”

While Arias, who was chosen over Robinson Cano by the Rangers in the Alex Rodriguez trade, has failed, Andrus has fulfilled much of the promise at a very young age.

Andrus has developed into one of the more exciting players in the game with his incredible range and arm at shortstop. He gets to balls up the middle that have never been gotten to before from other Ranger shortstops. He is a Gold Glove winner waiting in the wings for the baseball community to stop their obsession with Derek Jeter.

Feliz, the 2010 American League Rookie of the Year, has fulfilled all the promise—and then some—for the Rangers. Newberg also wrote this about Feliz at the time of the trade:

“In 29 innings last year, Feliz used a mid-90s fastball that reportedly touches 98 with late life, plus a still-immature slider and change, to hold hitters to a .192 average — and no home runs — issuing 14 walks and punching out 42 hapless opponents. He was at his best down the stretch, logging 11 scoreless innings in four August appearances, scattering four hits and one walk while fanning 15 hitters. At the conclusion of the season, Baseball America judged his fastball to be the best in the entire Braves system, despite just 39 innings of work in his two pro seasons combined.”

Taken from the same article by Newberg, Baseball Prospectus said, “”This is a teenager with a lightning arm who could turn into a frontline starter or a dominant closer, but right now, he’s a teenager with a lightning arm.”

Nail on the head. Feliz has been a lights-out, shutdown closer and set-up man for Texas since his call up in 2009. He owns a .232 ERA and 47 saves while striking out over a batter an inning.

The future is bright for young Feliz, whether as a shutdown closer or future ace of the staff.


The Cliff Lee Trade

The 2010 season was unlike any other in Rangers history. Coming into the season, the Mariners were the talk of the American League West by boasting two of the best pitchers in baseball in Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee, and the best defense on paper. The A’s were young and talented but still seemed a year away, and the Angels were the incumbent west champions and favorites to repeat.

The Rangers, full of young talent in Andrus and then-setup-reliever Neftali Feliz, were ready to take the next step in their rebuilding process—which began with the Teixeira trade three years prior.

Coming off a scorching hot June, The Rangers found themselves in first place in the west with a growing fan base. All of a sudden, the Rangers had gone from a cellar-dwelling franchise to a playoff contending team—seemingly over night to the rest of the baseball community.

Jon Daniels, however, was not happy with just a playoff contending team, and neither would the emerging fan base. Enter Cliff Lee.

Approaching July 9, it was all but assured that the Yankees would trade top prospect Jesus Montero—along with others—to the Mariners in exchange for Lee. But with the Mariners coveting Rangers first-base prospect Justin Smoak, Daniels and the Rangers come out of nowhere to land Lee and immediately turning the Rangers into serious World Series contenders.

Daniels sent Smoak along with pitchers Blake Beaven and Josh Lueke and infielder Matt Lawson to the Mariners in exchange for Lee and Mark Lowe. Newberg responded to the trade with:

“That Texas landed baseball’s best left-handed pitcher, a proven big game warrior on a short list of the league’s best pitchers, period, without giving up Perez or Scheppers or Holland or Hunter or Ogando is sort of stunning. I understand that Seattle was targeting a young hitter. But I’m still having trouble getting my head wrapped around a deal for a pitcher like this where you part with a young blue-chip position player but don’t have to dip into what is a very deep top tier of your pitching prospect stable – and that’s without even considering that you had to have the Mariners put cash into the deal, something other teams wouldn’t have insisted on.”

In the future, Justin Smoak will be an All-Star for a long time as a Mariner. Everyone in the Rangers organization knew this. But when you feel you’re one piece away from competing for a title, these are the risks you take. There will be many-a-game when Rangers fans will watch Smoak trot around the bases and think about what could have been. But the goal was to reach the playoffs and win a series for the first time in franchise history.

Mission accomplished.  

Jon Daniels has overcome ugly trades early-on in his career to become one of the most talented general managers in all of baseball. Through these trades, Daniels landed Andrus, Cruz, Lee and Feliz while also making room on the roster for second baseman Ian Kinsler.

This is not a concise list of all of Daniels’ successes and failures though. 2010 MVP Josh Hamilton was not even mentioned. Nor was the inability of Daniels to pull the trigger on a trade that would have sent Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to the Rangers instead of the Red Sox.

Whether he remains in Texas or moves on to other opportunities, Daniels has engraved a winning attitude on this team and this community and will forever be remembered as the architect of the first American League champions in franchise history.

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Looking Back at the 2010 MLB Trade Deadline: Evaluating the Trades Thus Far

We all know July 31 and the days leading up to that day change the season for some teams. There were some serious trades including a trade involving a Cy Young winner and a couple of ex-first overall draft picks. This slideshow shows the top nine pickups and the worst trade deadline pickups. The slideshow only shows teams in second or third place who brought in players who have played well since joining their new team.

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Tribe Talk: Deadline Deal Wins and Losses

Welcome to Tribe Talk, where Bleacher Report’s Cleveland Indians fans weigh in on the ups and downs of the club each week throughout the season.

This week, we break down the Tribe’s Trade Deadline deals player by player by calling ‘win’ or ‘lose’ in each case, and then grading the Tribe’s deadline activity as a whole.

I would like to thank this week’s participants, Dale Thomas and Dan Tylicki, for their contributions. This discussion is open to all, so please feel free to comment below and pitch in your thoughts on the questions we’re addressing this week.

Go Tribe!


It’s never any fun to be a seller rather than a buyer at the trade deadline, and the Indians, as expected, did quite a bit of selling. No longer wearing a Tribe uniform are Jhonny Peralta, Austin Kearns, Jake Westbrook, and Kerry Wood. 

Under each player’s name in this and the following three questions, panelists were asked to share their thoughts on each individual move. 

Were the Indians a winner or a loser in each case? Were you glad to see the given player go? What do you think of what we got in return?

First up…

1. Jhonny Peralta:

Samantha Bunten: This one was the real winner. It doesn’t even matter what we got back. I would have taken a great big pile of nothing AND paid his salary until his contract ran out just to get him off my field. 

In all seriousness though, this deal was a win for both teams. I like Giovanni Soto, and he’s far more than I ever thought we would get in return for Peralta. 

The only downside to this one is that it may have helped Detroit. As much as part of the fun of it was that we got to give a player we hate to a team we hate, Peralta will probably wind up being a good pick up for the Tigers. 

At least half of Peralta’s problem were caused by his unbelievably poor attitude and effort and his blatant laziness. A change of scenery is often rejuvenating for a player like that, though I still hope he fails miserably.

After all, I’d hate to think we did anything to help Peralta. Or Detroit.


Dan Tylicki: Just by getting rid of him I think we’re winners. He needed a new start with another team; at this point, he’s worn out his welcome. 

Soto’s a promising prospect. He’s only 19 and playing well in single-A.


Dale Thomas: This was a win-win for both teams. I say that only because Detroit had an immediate need at third, and they were able to fill their need with Peralta. I guess they get the added bonus of Jhonny traditionally being a better hitter in the second half. 

That said, they’re going to have to accept the fact that when he comes to the plate, he’ll hit into a double play more times than not. 

The Indians, of course are the real winners because having Peralta is no different than having a terminal disease. We are cured! 

Getting yet another minor league pitcher for him can’t hurt, right? I mean, sooner or later one of these guys might turn out to fill one of our need, and we have plenty of needs.

In the end, I’m just glad he’s not on our team anymore and I don’t think he’ll be on Detroit’s team in 2011 unless they rebuild him from the toes up with some sort of cyborg type implants, transplants, and potted plants.


2. Austin Kearns:

Samantha Bunten: Consider me less than thrilled.

I really liked Kearns—good guy, good attitude, and pretty decent player. He’s certainly cooled off in recent months from his blazing start to the season, but his hot streak, while shorter-lived than I would have liked, served a purpose: he was hitting when NO ONE else on the team was. 

The Tribe had to move Kearns this season or risk getting nothing back for a pretty decent player, given the unlikelihood of re-signing him in the offseason. 

At this point, we don’t really know what we got back for him, though I’m inclined to say we sold short. And I would really rather we hadn’t given him to the Yankees. 

I’m glad Kearns gets to go to a playoff team, but couldn’t we have given him to someone we actually WANT to help, like Texas or Cincinnati? Granted neither of those teams needed an extra outfielder, but neither did New York. 

Ah well, you can’t win ’em all, and while I’m not sure this was a particularly helpful move for the Tribe, it’s far from the worst move Mark Shapiro has made over the years.


Dan Tylicki: I think we lost on this one. We got the same amount for him as we did for Kerry Wood, which doesn’t make sense to me. And he doesn’t really fit in at New York, so I’m not sure why they jumped to get him.


Dale Thomas: This guy did a good job for the Tribe, and I’m really sorry to see him go. 

As is often the case, I think the Tribe were the losers in this deal. Cash is a fleeting thing, so if they get cash, they’ll probably have to use it to dry clean Slider’s smelly suit. I mean how many years are they gonna let that go? Creosote doesn’t smell as bad as this guy, so as a public service it would be money well spent. 

By the way, I never get these ‘player to be named later’ things…but it’s gotta be Jeter, right? 


3. Jake Westbrook:

Samantha Bunten: Let’s call this one a win for Westbrook himself. 

For the team, I’m not convinced they needed to move Westbrook this year at all. I’m not sure I would have sold at this point unless someone was overbidding. 

Still, Corey Kluber is a good prospect, and the deal was essentially fair. The Cardinals are clearly getting more out of this than the Indians, but that by no means indicates that the Tribe got ripped off in this deal. 

The real winner here is Westbrook. He’s pitched unbelievably better than what anyone expected out of him this season, and he’s a modest, hard worker who has been toiling away on a hard luck team for most of his career. 

The Indians, in a way, rewarded Westbrook for his exceptional comeback this season and hard work over the years by sending him to a contender. I hate to see him leave the Indians, but I’m glad he’s going to get his shot with a playoff-hopeful.


Dan Tylicki: Corey Kluber was about as much as we were going to get for him, and St. Louis is a good fit for Westbrook right now. He deserves a ring with all he’s been through, and if Kluber pans out, then this is a win.


Dale Thomas: Kluber for Westbrook? Short term; Indians lose. Long term, this might be a decent trade if he keeps up his 2010 form, which is anybody’s guess. It is, after all, AA pitching. 

So what’s he bring to the table? Youth, a low salary, and he has indeed struck out a few batters. Unlike a lot of folks, I don’t think Westbrook is done at all. The guy is going to help his team for a few years to come. 

Since I hedged on the win-lose thing a couple of sentences back, I”ll take a stand now. We lose.


4. Kerry Wood:

Samantha Bunten: This deal was a disaster. 

Don’t get me wrong, I was all for giving up Wood for next-to-nothing prospect-wise, just to get him off my mound (or mostly, my DL) and to get his salary off my payroll. 

Except that—oops! The Indians DIDN’T get him off their payroll. In fact, they’re still paying most of his salary. You know, because the Yankees need help paying their bills. 

The entire point of moving Wood was to ditch his salary. Why move him at all if most of his salary for the rest of the year remains on our books? 

As long as he isn’t touching a baseball, I’d rather pay him to sit in the corner of our bullpen doing nothing than pay him to play for someone else, especially since the Tribe didn’t even get anything notable back in terms of prospects. 

To be fair, I’m not quite sure I understand what the Yankees were thinking either.

I get that it’s essentially a free pitcher and all, but really, are you going to hand Kerry Wood the ball in a critical situation in a playoff game? I’d love to see them do that of course, but I don’t believe the Yankees would really be that foolish. That’s more our territory. 


Dan Tylicki: Even though we didn’t really get anything, the Yankees will hopefully be giving a good player or good amount of cash, so it’s not a big deal either way.


Dale Thomas: Ha! Ha Ha! Hahahahahaha!! 

Now here’s a guy I would have just put in a cab and told the driver “just drop him off wherever…but make sure it’s not within walking distance to Cleveland”. 

Getting rid of this guy is a huge win for ownership and management, regardless of price, because the fans will no longer be reminded each day of the terribly, horribly BAD decisions made in the front office to bring this guy to Cleveland in the first place. 

Andy Marte pitched better than Kerry Wood ever did for the Tribe. Come to think of it, Marte pitched better than any of our pitchers, but let’s not torture ourselves that way. Instead, let’s just say that Wood sucked, has always sucked, and will always suck. 

With that in mind, and to try to make sense of this trade, let’s consider that Wood will be converted to shortstop, so we can do the Jeter deal I mentioned in the ‘Kearns for an unknown player/Slider laundering scheme smell-factor uniform improvement program extravaganza’.

Yup. We win.


5. Finally, let’s take a moment to discuss how the Tribe did at the deadline overall. What “grade” would you give the deadline deals the team made? 

Do you think the Tribe helped or hurt themselves with their trade deadline activity this season? 

Were there any players trade who you don’t believe should have been moved? Is there anyone on the Tribe roster who you would have liked to see go but still remains an Indian?

Samantha Bunten: I guess I’ll give them a B- overall, though that’s a generous B- which is slightly inflated by the A+ I give the Peralta trade. 

Aside from that move, which was addition by subtraction, the rest of the deals aren’t anything impressive. But on the whole, they weren’t too disastrous either, which when compared to last year’s deadline mess, indicate that Mark Shapiro should at least be given a “has shown improvement”. 

I’m not about to give Shapiro a prize for his deadline activity this year, but at least this time we didn’t donate a Cy Young winner to another team in exchange for an 18-year-old whose arm is ready to fall off. 

I don’t think the moves truly helped us, but it’s unlikely they hurt us either. Sad as it may be, when the Indians have made it through a trade deadline without shooting themselves in the foot, we have to call it a win by our standards, however low they may be.


Dan Tylicki: Overall, I’d probably give them a C+.

I’m not thrilled with any of the trades (except maybe Peralta), but they were moves we had to make to get us moving. I’m glad Fausto Carmona’s still around, I was worried he was going to be shipped as well. 

I don’t really think it helped or hurt the Tribe since we only know of the two prospects we got, and who knows how they’ll pan out. 

One thing that would be great to see is the Yankees fall out of first at the end because of them taking our loose ends and trying to win with them. Kearns plateaued a while ago and Wood’s done.


Dale Thomas: I give the Indians an A++ for dumping Peralta and Wood. Doesn’t matter that we got nothing, because let’s face it, we gave up nothing. 

To further justify such a lofty grade, they both went to teams I hate! How perfect is that?

I don’t care what the Tigers and Yanks do with these guys, and I don’t care if the guys we got (or might get, or won’t get) ever do anything good. This is a clear case where less is more.

It even offsets the lousy Westbrook and Kearns deals. Moving deeper into this question, I would have liked to have seen Marte get in that same Taxi Cab with Wood, but that was before I saw him pitch! Especially those first two pitches he threw that almost hit the upper deck. 

Now I want to keep Marte and convert him to mascot since there is just no way the Slider guy will live through another year in that odoriferous furry suit. Marte will be a great drop-in replacement, and hey, he can always come out and pitch the ninth since smell hasn’t been deemed illegal like scuffing and spitballs and all that…


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The Top 10 MLB Personalities on the Post-Trade Deadline Hot Seat

Will David Ortiz earn a stay in Boston? Will the New York Yankees have enough to hang on to the American League East? Can Ted Lilly save the Dodgers’ fanbase from the McCourt divorce?

The 2010 trade deadline came and went Saturday afternoon with a flurry of both major and minor activity. Now, for players, general managers, owners and coaches alike, the proof is in the pudding.

The decisions made over the past few weeks, and the performances delivered over the next few months, will decide the fate of many a baseball personality.

Whether it’s a contract extension, a pink slip, a postseason berth, or a playoff collapse, much is at stake.

Rosters largely set, teams are now hunkering down for the stretch run. Here are the top 10 big leaguers on the brink as their teams scramble toward October.

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MLB Trade Deadline: 10 Near-Deals That Would Have Changed Everything

If you’re like me, the run-up to the non-waiver trading deadline is one of the highlights of the MLB season.

It’s not just the flurry of news and rumors that makes late July fun; it’s the game of matchmaker the media and fans play as we imagine who could go where and why.

Of course, when the dust lifted, the vast majority of rumored deals ended up to be mere false alarms. It’s only logical—the same player can’t be traded to a half-dozen different teams.

But we don’t have to stop playing “what if?” just because we know it’s not going to happen.

In this slideshow are 10 would-be game-changing trades that were rumored to be in the works over the last few weeks but didn’t ultimately come to fruition.

The GMs have already said “no deal,” but we can still look inside the briefcases.

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Why the Cliff Lee Deal Will Take the Texas Rangers To the World Series


There were quite a few trades made at this year’s non-waiver deadline, but not as many moves as I thought there would. With so many equally talented, but non-impact players available after the big guns—Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Roy Oswalt—were gone, it became a buyer’s market.

Some teams, like the Toronto Blue Jays, would not trade any of their valuable commodities (Scott Downs, Jose Bautista, Jason Frasor) unless they received top dollar and/or equal return back.

Second-tier prospects do not make a good team better, and many teams knew that. Many teams also valued their young players much higher (and thus cheaper in cost) than the buying teams.

Of all the trades, however, the most important one was the first one—Cliff Lee to the Texas Rangers.

This is important for many reasons.

First, it gives the Rangers a legitimate No. 1 ace starter for the first time as a playoff contending team. They never had an ace in the late 1990s when they made the playoffs three times, nor any of the decent teams they had scattered throughout the 1970s and ’80s.

Please do not confuse guys who had a decent year or two like Aaron Sele, Rick Helling, Ken Hill, and Bobby Witt with the term ace.


Lee is a true ace, a pitcher who will go up against the best. He has stacked up against some of the best teams so far, including the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox, and pitched well.

His performance in last year’s playoff push and postseason classified Lee as an ace.

Second, an ace on top of the rotation takes a team to different heights, pushing them to play better and feel more confident. For example, when your team’s ace is starting, don’t you feel better about that particular game?

So do the players playing behind him.

I remember when Ron Guidry was pitching in 1978, and every time his turn came up in the rotation, you just knew the Yankees would win. And they usually did.

I specifically remember one day a group of us were playing stick ball and someone asked who was pitching for the Yankees that night. Another kid said “Guidry” and I said out loud, “Well, that’s another win for the Yankees.” After all, Guidry was 13-0 at that point in early July.

Unfortunately, the Milwaukee Brewers beat up on Louisiana Lightning , and handed Guidry his first loss. While the Yankee starter was mentioned, no one bother to say that Yankee-killer Mike Caldwell was pitching for the Brewers that night.

I might not have proclaimed a Yankee victory that quickly.


Steve Carlton had that same knack with his teams to playing better behind him. How can you explain that his 1972 Philadelphia Phillies team, with 59 total wins, but won 27 of his starts that season?

When pitchers throw strikes and work quickly, they keep their fielders in the game. And when fielders are happy and not bored in the field, they usually perform better.

Despite Lee only being 1-2 in his five Rangers starts, the team has picked up 3.5 games on the second place Angels since Lee’s arrival. The arrival of Lee has set a different tone for this franchise and its players.

They have more overall confidence and know they are a true contender.

Third, the Rangers made this move FOR the playoffs, not to get to the playoffs. Although they have increased their lead with Lee in the fold, I still believe the Rangers would win the AL West regardless if they acquired Lee or not.

This trade is similar to when the Angels traded with the Atlanta Braves for Mark Teixeira prior to the 2008 trading deadline. The Angels has a great lead that year, but wanted to bolster their lineup for the potential matchup against one of the behemoths from the AL East. 

The Lee trade will work out much better than the Teixeira deal did for the Angels. As a proven dominant ace, Lee will have a more influencing force upon a playoff series than does a single hitter in a lineup.


Lee has already shown he can dominate a World Series-winning lineup like he did last season against the New York Yankees. Overall, in four postseason starts, Lee was 4-0, with a 1.56 ERA and 0.818 WHIP, including two victories over the Yankees.

Lee will start two games in the first round, and depending how the games play out, could go three games in each of the seven-game series rounds.

If he pitches like he is capable (and why even doubt it?), an opponent has to pretty much guarantee it will win all the other games Lee does NOT pitch.

And with Lee in the No. 1 spot, all the other good Rangers pitchers slide down into the No. 2 and No. 3 rolls.

Yankee fans? Do you feel confident with AJ Burnett going up against Rangers young 8-1, 3.31 ERA dynamo Tommy Hunter * with a Lee win already in the pocket? How about the rejuvenated C.J. Wilson firing BB’s against the lefty suspect Yankee lineup?

New Yankee Austin Kearns better have a great night that game on National TV! No, I don’t believe he is up for that challenge.

*Hunter is a pretty darned good pitcher who breezed through the Rangers minor leagues . He was the ace at the University of Alabama when David Robertson was the Crimson Tide closer.


In fact, K-Rob blew the Super Regional against North Carolina in the ninth inning of a game which Hunter started and somewhat outdueled Daniel Bard .

Like when a good hitter acquired lengthens an already good lineup, Lee lengthens a pretty good starting rotation the Rangers already had.

That is trouble for the opposition.

Fourth, as an economical pitcher who throws strikes, Lee regularly will pitch into the eighth and mostly the ninth innings. For example, last year in his four postseason games, Lee threw two complete games, reached the ninth inning one start, and into the eighth in the fourth.

This means that in the other games Lee does not start, the Rangers will have a rested bullpen. And this side of the San Diego Padres, the Rangers have perhaps the best bullpen in the major leagues.

Lastly, Cliff Lee wants the damn ball.

He will not be babied by Ron Washington like a young hurler on an innings limit or pitch count. The Rangers know this is their window to the World Series, as Lee will likely not re-sign with Texas after this season.

And he will not ask out of a playoff game like Johan Santana did as a member of the Minnesota Twins back in 2004 against the Yankees. An elimination game, no less!

You might have to pry the ball out of Lee’s hands in this postseason.

And what about coming to the Rangers in the July 9 deal?

“You want to pitch against the best teams,” Lee said. “You want to be the guy that’s expected to take the ball. You want that challenge. It’s a challenge. It’s the highest level. It’s playing against the best. It’s what you should want to do.”
I like that confidence.
The Rangers already had a great offense led by Josh Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero, Nelson Cruz, and Michael Young. They already have a great bullpen with Neftali Feliz, Darren O’Day, Darren Oliver (two Darren’s make me want to watch a Bewitched marathon), and Frank Francisco.
And their starting rotation with Hunter, Wilson, and Colby Lewis was pretty good, too.
But the trade for Lee makes the Rangers the team to beat in the American League, and quite possibly in all of baseball.

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Lance Berkman, Austin Kearns Trades Prove Yanks Pick ‘Age Before Beauty’

Bench, bench, and more bench is what New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman added right before the non-waiver trade deadline.

Will Cashman’s last minute moves help the team down the stretch?

Let’s hope so, but for now, we might as well get to know the two new Yankees hitters.

Other than adding Cleveland Indians pitcher Kerry Wood to help the bullpen, Cashman added fellow Indians outfielder Austin Kearns and Houston Astros first baseman Lance Berkman.

Austin Kearns is hitting .272 with eight home runs and 42 RBI, while stealing four bases in 84 games this season.

Kearns primary role is as the fourth outfielder, but he also brings another right-handed bat to the lineup.

Kearns is used to playing everyday and is very useful anywhere on the field, but watch to see him play against lefty pitching.

It will help Curtis Granderson, who is becoming an almost automatic out against lefties.

Five-time All-Star Lance Berkman will primarily fill in as the Yankees designated hitter and sometimes first baseman to give Mark Teixeira the day off.


Berkman is 34 years old and is known as “The Big Puma.”


Berkman has been with the Houston Astros his entire career, so he’s excited to play for a team that is contending. Berkman is hitting .245 with 13 home runs and 49 RBI in 85 games this season.

Collectively, there are negatives for both Kearns and Berkman.

The two players are both very familiar with being on the disabled list.

Kearns and Berkman are almost worse than Yankee virus Nick Johnson. From knee to elbow, there has been a lot wrong with both men since day one, which brings many reasons to worry.

Nick Johnson, who replaced 2009 World Series MVP Hideki Matsui, has been on the disabled list since early May with no return in site. This might go down as one of the dumbest moves Cashman has ever made, but that is for another time.

Kearns is almost 30 and Berkman is 34, so neither is a youngster anymore.

After watching Berkman replace Tex at first against the Rays on Sunday, his defense left me absolutely uneasy.

Even though the Yankees lost 3-0, Berkman’s lack of skills were the reason for two of the runs scored. One was a ball over his head, and the other a textbook scoop up that Tex would have made without question.



Kearns also got right in the mix at the plate, but he was more a disruption because he did nothing to benefit the team.

Understandably, it takes a few games to start to feel like you are part of a team but if only Yankees fans could see it that way.

I am staying optimistic as experts, fans, and even the Yankees haters over at ESPN.

Everyone has praised what Cashman did for the team by picking up Kearns, Berkman, and Wood (who I will tell a tale about in another post).

The saying does still go, “Age Before Beauty” and the Yankees seem to have this as their unofficial team motto still.



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Trading Up: MLB’s Five Biggest Winners of the Trade Deadline

Every team had a different goal in mind as the calendar advanced to July 31.

Some teams approached the trade deadline hoping to make a big splash and shake up a playoff race.

Several contenders sought to add specific role players, while teams who had given up hope for the season tried to pawn off expensive veterans in exchange for prospects and salary relief.

Then there are the clubs who are content to stand pat—but they’re boring.

It’s way too early to definitively judge any given deal; we won’t know what impact an acquired player will have on the 2010 season until a new champion is crowned, and it may be more than five years before a traded prospect makes his former team regret sending him away.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate.

In this slideshow are the five teams who did the best jobs of meeting their various goals in the run-up to the deadline, be they buyers who helped their playoff chances without risking the farm, sellers who have raised their hopes for the future, or somewhere in between—clubs who successfully identified and exploited inefficiencies in the trade market.

Begin Slideshow

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Five Other MLB Teams Left for Dead

With Major League Baseball now 48 hours removed from the non-waiver trade deadline, we look back at teams that either made a move that didn’t help them enough or teams that didn’t make a move that should have.

We’ll go through six different teams who will be left out of the playoff races strictly because they didn’t do enough to help their team down the stretch.

With all the rumors and all the talk going on from the start of Saturday morning all the way through the absolute insanity of the final hour, it showed us who was serious about making a run this year and who just didn’t do enough to get them back into their divisional race.

There are several races still up for grabs, and while there were a few teams that didn’t need to do anything to keep themselves in the race, or even overcome the divisional leader, there were teams that made moves that didn’t quite help them enough.

Here’s my list of six teams that either didn’t help themselves enough or didn’t help themselves at all.

Begin Slideshow

Minnesota Twins Need To Win Now, Not Next Year

I was at a restaurant when I saw on a nearby TV that Matt Capps was on his way to the Minnesota Twins. My first reaction was that of extreme joy as I felt that Capps wasn’t going to be traded at the deadline. Soon after I settled down, I looked at the screen closer and saw who was involved in the deal. Two names scrolled across the screen with only one that I knew.

The player that I knew, and most every Twin fan knew, was highly-touted catching prospect Wilson Ramos. Ramos was now heading off to the Washington Nationals where, conceivably, he will be behind the plate catching Stephen Strasburg fastballs for the next decade. 

As I scoured the Internet looking for any and all reaction on the trade, I was surprised to find out that a vast majority of the reaction was negative on the Twins part. What was even more surprising that most of the negative attention was coming from Minnesota blogs and articles.

I decided to wait a few days before writing a reaction on the trade. So many times it becomes too easy to quickly make a decision on something before further examining all the possibilities. 

Well, it’s been four days and one Matt Capps save since the deal was made and I am strongly in favor of it. Here’s why.

1. Jon Rauch was a serviceable closer and did a nice job, but he doesn’t have overpowering stuff, which is generally needed by a closer. Now he can slide into a seventh and eighth inning role to go along with Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier keeping the bullpen fresh down the stretch.

2. Ramos very well may be the product of an organization hyping up a player who’s only true value to the team was as a trade chip. Think about it this way. Joe Mauer is going to be the team’s catcher for the next four to six years regardless of all the talk of him switching positions. Let’s be honest—Ramos had no future in Minnesota, leading me to my next point.

3. The time is now for the Twins. There is no new ballpark opening next year, it opened this year. The organization can no longer bank on tomorrow because tomorrow has arrived in Minnesota. General Manager Bill Smith did his job in the offseason by adding key acquisitions in Jim Thome, JJ Hardy, and Orlando Hudson. He did his job again at the trade deadline by improving the team.  

Ramos may turn into an All-Star catcher three or four years down the road, but nobody will remember that if Capps plays a key role in bringing a World Series to Minnesota. After all, sometimes you have to worry about next year when it comes and take a chance on this year, this team. 

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