This week’s Metro column, in which I parse the Gagne-to-Boston deal for hidden significance. Did Boston or Texas come out on top? I report. You decide.
For what it’s worth, the more I think about it, the more I’m impressed with the Rangers’ handling of this trade deadline. Some of the pieces they had acquired earlier just made no sense for them to have—and they had the stones to admit it (unlike certain other GMs, who insist on retaining the services of, say, Julio Lugo). They tried their best to move Sammy Sosa, and when they couldn’t find any takers they had the hard conversation with the former superstar and told him he’d have to sit out more games to give the younguns a chance to play. They dumped Kenny “He’s Still Around?” Lofton for decent minor league catcher Max Ramirez. And they moved two of their biggest stars–Gagne and Mark Teixeira–before they walked, leaving the Rangers with nothing. What exactly Texas got for Gagne is the subject of my column, so I won’t go into it again here. But I’m still marveling at what they got for Teixeira–though the Braves seem very happy with the deal, as their new first baseman has already has three homers and eight RBI in his first six games with Atlanta.
Nonetheless, the Rangers did a great job of getting value out of Teixeira after he turned down their contract offer. For him (and Ron Mahay, don’t forget), they got: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a six-foot-four switch hitting catcher/first baseman; Elvis Andrus, a shortstop who, at just 18, is rumored to have more tools than Home Depot and has already been compared to Derek Jeter; Matt Harrison, a lefty starting pitcher who likes to throw hard and—even better—throw strikes; 19-year old Neftali Feliz, who admittedly has yet to make it to the minors, but still struck out 70 batters in 51 and a third innings of work. and another left-handed pitcher, Beau Jones, who hasn’t quite lived up to the lofty expectations the Braves threw at him, but has managed to keep his ERA under 3 in 48 and 2/3 innings of relief work in Single A while notching a strikeout about once per inning.
Not too shabby. And if Engel Beltre is all he’s cracked up to be, they really cleaned up on prospects…but now I’m giving away the column.